Angelica Vecchiato:

Waterloo Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) trustee Wendy Ashby apologized after calling Christian males “the most dangerous creature on the planet” in a tweet, but only after facing parental backlash. The controversy continued for more than three weeks before Ashby finally resigned her position on the WCDSB.

On April 24, 50 concerned parents erupted in protest calling for Ashby’s resignation at a school board meeting at the WCDSB headquarters in Kitchener. Supporters of organisations such as Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) and Parents as First Educators (PAFE) were present, bearing signs that read “Wendy Ashby must resign” and “Ashby hates white male Christian students.”

David Menzies from Rebel News was on scene that day reporting. He challenged the trustees, questioning whether the board “condemns or approves” Ashby’s comments. Then people in the gallery began chanting “shame” toward the trustee. Seven police cruisers were called to silence the crowd and they issued a notice of trespass to Menzies, banning him from the rest of the meeting.

CLC videographer Myles Vosylius captured what happened at the meeting in a now-viral video.

Following the outcry, two WCDSB trustees have come forward publicly to condemn Ashby’s statements. Marissa Phillips stated that her colleague’s comments were “entirely inappropriate, unacceptable, and should be condemned without hesitation.” Robert Sikora questioned whether Ashby “is truly contrite and repentant.” He endorsed her resignation, stating that it would “allow the WCDSB to focus on the students and affirm to the public that our focus is on the safety and education of our students and staff.”

Ashby, a first-term trustee who represents Kitchener-Wilmot, has since issued an apology for her remarks. “Conversations about inequality are often uncomfortable. As a Métis woman and in my professional role, I encounter these discussions regularly and part of these discussions is to challenge our existing systems. A great deal of my education and advocacy work is around understanding and furthering diversity, equity and inclusion,” she said.

In a blog post, CLC President Jeff Gunnarson expressed doubt about the sincerity of Ashby’s remarks and pressed for her resignation. “In my opinion, she didn’t actually apologise for holding or expressing vile views,” wrote Gunnarson. “She’s only ‘apologising’ that people were ‘offended’ and ‘impacted’ and that’s not really an apology.” He explained, “To me, it sounds more like an expression of regret that the Catholic community didn’t agree with her views. And by the way, Ashby’s so-called apology makes it fairly evident that she still holds these views! It actually contains a defence of them.”

In another WCDSB board meeting about Ashby on May 1, CLC’s Vosylius and a Rebel News correspondent were prevented by security from accessing the school board premises. The board also served Vosylius with a formal trespass notice, warning that legal action would be taken if he were to attempt an entrance into the school premises.

In an interview with LifeSiteNews, Vosylius said, “the most likely answer” to his blockade is that the “WCDSB is afraid” of being exposed. “Therefore, after last week’s heated meeting and our viral video, the only logical conclusion is they are afraid of the pressure we are applying, through video reports, petitions, concerned parents raising their voice, and how it is working, demanding the resignation of the racist and sexist trustee, Wendy Ashby,” he continued.

On May 12, Ashby resigned her seat on the school board.

Pro-family groups applauded the belated decision. Teresa Pierre, president of PAFE, said, “People like Wendy Ashby, who promote religious bigotry, hatred and racism are completely unsuited for public office. PAFE is glad that Ashby has finally resigned.”