This story is only one of a multitude where Marilyn Gladu, Sarnia-Lambton MP, reveals her bias and ineptitude for the role of MP, but I wanted to add my personal experience to the archive so that it’s on the record and that hopefully she will be held accountable one day. It’s important to remember what people in positions of power say, because what they say soon turns into what they will do and the kinds of governments they will support. If you need specific proof of any of these direct quotes please e-mail me directly.
There have been a few situations where I felt like I needed to address them publicly. Most recently, this surfaced for me with our Sarnia-Lambton Federal Member of Parliament, Marilyn Gladu. Back in 2016, while I was travelling to Palestine, Jordan and Israel, I came to understand that there was an upcoming vote in the House of Commons to “condemn any and all attempts by Canadian organizations, groups, or individuals, to promote the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] movement, both here at home and abroad.” I quickly emailed Marilyn Gladu asking her to “please consider the Christian and Canadian convictions of peace, love and justice when voting” and further urging her “to reject such an obvious attempt at maintaining power and injustice for an oppressive regime of Zionism in Israel. Please stand with our Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ and the other 173 countries that recognize Palestine’s peaceful resistance of the Israeli occupation. We need to support all non-violent resistance to avoid more violent reactions in the future.”
A week and a half later, she responded to me. She said that “the BDS movement has begun to hold anti-Semitic meetings” and after explaining that she has also visited the area and suggesting the movement was “calling for a boycott of all Israeli products” she said that “I believe that, in the spirit of Canadian inclusiveness, the BDS movement has no place, and their anti-Semitic and discriminating practices are reprehensible.” I quickly responded and asked clarifying questions, but I never heard back. She voted to condemn the movement soon after. This exchange didn’t really surprise me, but it tipped me off that there might be more underlying her response. What does the state of Israel and their illegal settlements have to do despising Jews?
Fast forward to the present with an election looming and given Gladu’s history of absurd political behaviour, I felt like I needed to say something. I called out Gladu hoping that more people would realize that she is not the person she continually positions herself to be.
There are many other stories of her unabashedly showing up at churches around Lambton County soliciting votes as a person of faith–but what most people don’t know is how she confesses to a cultish extremous religious ideology that most of Christianity has long condemned. What really is the dangerous part and why I couldn’t keep quiet, is that she is casting votes at a federal level representing Sarnia-Lambton motivated by this religious extremism.
I definitely got her attention, as she soon after posted on Facebook ordering me to “cease and desist” my comments because I was breaking my code of conduct as a city councillor. I disagreed and thought it my responsibility to call out her behaviour. As time went on, I was encouraged by a few people to meet Marilyn in person, because “she is a great person” and if we could just meet face to face then I would probably change my mind about her. I’m always open to meeting and talking things out, so I reached out to her and set up a time to meet her at her office. I was expecting to sit down informally and explain where I was coming from but she had a different plan for the meeting.
I was caught off guard when I arrived at her office on July 22nd at 10am because she invited me into her board room and she had a scribe in the room that was recording what we were saying. Marilyn had a folder in front of her of screenshots and everything I’ve ever said about her and was quite abrasive towards me as she explained that she’s called the mayor and the integrity commissioner on me and they both agreed that I was out of line and disrespectful. She repeated her demands for me to cease and desist. She told me that “the integrity commissioner believes that you are in violation of your code of conduct.” I called the IC a few days later to make sure, and he did not corroborate that message at all, he just said to “be careful.” I can only assume this is why she has not actually filed a complaint.
I was especially surprised when she threatened to not work with me as a councillor when she said “You are a city councillor, you are always a city council councillor. It’s like any political position, you are never off duty. And it’s not smart to go against those that you may need to get funding from, like the federal member of parliament for example.” [Source] I just wanted to have a sit down and chat about our disagreements, but she came out lecturing me, saying what I was doing was “political suicide” and implicitly telling me that she wouldn’t support my efforts as a councillor if I went against her
I really wanted to dive into how her religious beliefs were behind her understanding of Canada’s foreign relationships and where our support would go, so I took the opportunity to ask her some questions. She didn’t hold back and proved that I was correct to believe that she holds fringe religious beliefs and that these beliefs are what motivate her political involvement and the decisions she makes therein.
One of the more obvious ways in which she shows her bias is when she talks about Israel being God’s chosen people and the desire to displace the Palestinians. In our meeting she said “in terms of who has the right claim to the land, legally, that is the Israeli’s…my Christian background would say that the Jews are God’s people and certainly I adhere to that and I believe strongly that people and Canada should come to Israel’s defence…I don’t know where you are going to move these Palestinian people…Palestine does not have any documented rights.”
She clearly gets her understanding of politics and history from biased and religiously driven sources because her statements were both false and discriminatory–saying, for example, that “nothing is being done to Palestinians’ homes right now, they are attacking Israeli homes…Palestinians are squatting on their land…They used the funding to educate the children to hate the Jews…There has been nothing signed that gets them anywhere past Israel owning that land as a nation…essentially Palestinian people are occupying that land and Israeli people are paying for their water and a bunch of things that go on.”
It’s widely known that the Israel/Palestine conflict is not without disagreements no matter who you ask, but the idea that Palestinians have no rights at all to any land is dangerous propaganda. It’s not even the State of Israel’s position that the West Bank belongs to Israel. As an example, just a few weeks ago in Canada, a Federal Court decision by Justice Anne Mactavish ruled that: “Identifying settlement wines incorrectly as “Products of Israel” inhibits the ability of such individuals to express their political views through their purchasing choices, thereby limiting their Charter-protected right to freedom of expression.” According to CFIA guidelines, the labels are “false, misleading and deceptive.” So not only does Israel not hold to her understandings of settlements on Palestinian territory, Canada doesn’t either. So where else could Marilyn get these ideas from?
I fully recognize that the issue of Israel/Palestine is not one that many people are familiar with, but I think it’s important that her motive be made known to everyone. We have an MP that disregards human rights, ignores the suffering of a people group because it’s religiously motivated in her favour and thinks that our country should use our resources to support these religious convictions. This is an issue that is close to my own heart because I’ve seen first hand the kind of suffering that religious extremism creates, and when you have someone like Marilyn Gladu who is in a position of such power in this country, it is a huge disappointment to know that she has influence at the national stage on issues where her perspective is formed by this religious ideology. Any person who ignores truth because their religion tells them all they need to know, is not a person that should be in power. The fact that we have a Member of Parliament promoting religious extremism on these issues is troubling and dangerous and we need to do better.