City Councillor and MP clash over their Christian beliefs

Troy Shantz

Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu says “offensive” comments a city councillor made about her on social media are a violation of Sarnia’s code of conduct.

Coun. Nathan Colquhoun said in a May Facebook post that Gladu “is an embarrassment to Sarnia and Christianity and is responsible for Sarnia-Lambton not being taken seriously at the federal level.”

Marilyn Gladu

Gladu called the comments “offensive” and “political suicide.” They also breach Section 12 of the city’s code because they attack her for her religion, she said.

“Obviously, I think this is not how a city councillor should conduct themselves,” she said.

“Any form of harassment and intimidation, especially with respect to creed — which is religion — is unacceptable.”

Gladu would not confirm or deny she has taken her complaint to Sarnia’s Integrity Commissioner.

“Obviously, we are going to have differences on issues of policy, politics, that’s fine,” Gladu said.

“But there’s a professional, respectful way to do that, and I don’t feel that that was done.”

Coun. Colquhoun is a business owner and a co-founder and former pastor of the theStory, a church in downtown Sarnia. He met with Gladu after she asked him to “cease and desist” in response to his Facebook post, where he had supported NDP candidate Adam Kilner.

Nathan Colquhoun

Colquhoun said his comments about Gladu were based largely on an email exchange they had 2016. At the time, he urged her to support the “boycott, divestment and sanctions” (BDS) campaign against Israel, a global movement spawned by Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

Colquhoun said he believes Gladu’s support for Israel is motivated by her Christian beliefs, and his recent meeting with her confirmed that.

“I think it’s really dangerous to have your federal member of Parliament having their federal policies dictated by her religious extremism,” said Colquhoun, who also accused Gladu of soliciting votes at church appearances in Sarnia-Lambton.

Parliament voted 229 to 51 to condemn the BDS movement in 2016. The motion had strong support from Conservative and Liberal members; the NDP and Bloc Quebecois were opposed.

Sarnia Integrity Commissioner Paul Watson couldn’t be reached last week for comment. His secretary later confirmed he was on vacation.

Section 12 of the city’s code of conduct defines harassment as:

“Any behaviour by any person that is directed at or is offensive to another person on the grounds of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, or family status and any other grounds identified under the Ontario Human Rights Code.”

City councillors, it adds, have a duty to treat members of the public without “abuse, bullying or intimidation.”