Victoria Pride Society denounces ‘transphobic’ speakers scheduled at city-owned Conference Centre

Victoria Pride Society denounces 'transphobic' speakers scheduled at city-owned Conference Centre
We Unify/Facebook
A portion of the 2023 We Unify conference is pictured.

A conference scheduled at the city-owned Victoria Conference Centre (VCC) later this month is causing some concern.

Two weeks from now, a group calling themselves We Unify Canada is putting together 17 speakers over three days. The group says they will “confront disinformation, censorship” and the alleged “erosion of rights and liberties in Canada,” in an an event that promises to “reclaim Canada.”

Some of the speakers include Tamara Lich who is in the midst of a trial, pleading not guilty to charges of mischief, intimidation and offences related to counselling others to break the law during the massive protests that engulfed downtown Ottawa streets for more than three weeks in 2022.

“Of them, most of them got their name in hateful rhetoric, several of them are extremely transphobic. I know one of them signed an open letter saying he was with J.K. Rowling on her transphobic views,” said Ace Mann, president of the Victoria Pride Society.

According to the website, events are being held at the Union Club of B.C. and the VCC.

“The Union Club did not ‘book in’ the ‘We Unify’ conference…I can confirm this group has no events at the Union Club of B.C., and we have requested them to remove our name from their website,” said David Hammonds, general manager of the Union Club of B.C.

Story continues below

The Union Club of B.C. did not answer CHEK’s follow-up questions. Mann thinks We Unify is using a third party to make the reservations for them.

“This means the groups are being booked under kind of a blank slate and people aren’t able to say yes or no. So that’s kind of an issue when it comes to our city because we have one in 10 people in so-called Victoria identify under the rainbow umbrella, and we have the most trans and gender diverse people per capita in this city,” said Mann. “And this city of Victoria is usually a huge ally, at least so they’re saying, and they usually walk the walk.”

In a statement to CHEK News, the City of Victoria says as a public facility, the VCC is available to everyone.

“The city’s actions are subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and there is a right to freedom of expression in public places. Any government decision to restrict or limit the opportunity for such expression is subject to compliance with the charter,” said city spokesperson Colleen Mycroft.

Destination Greater Victoria is contracted with the sales and marketing for the the centre. Multiple people within the organization did not respond to CHEK’s request for comment.

We Unify said they’d have a press release coming in the coming days.

With the event just over two weeks away, a petition calling for the cancellation of the convention is now at just over 700 signatures.


Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!