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.
Back in 2016, while I was traveling 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–our Sarnia-Lambton Federal Member of Parliament. I asked her to “please consider the Christian and Canadian convictions of peace, love, and justice when voting.” I then further urged 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.” Condemning my right as a citizen to non-violently oppose oppressive regimes anywhere in the world is a blatant attack on my rights as a Canadian.
Ten days passed without a response. When I finally received a reply, I was thoroughly disappointed. Partly because of Gladu’s lack of discernment, but mostly at her disregard of the suffering of other human beings.
By email she said, “the BDS movement has begun to hold anti-Semitic meetings.” After explaining that she has also visited the area, she said the movement was “calling for a boycott of all Israeli products.” She added, “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 never heard back. She voted to condemn the movement soon after. This exchange didn’t surprise me. However, it suggested that there might be more behind her response, specifically, What is the connection between illegal settlements and despising Jews? Why did she equate Judaism and the state of Israel?
Fast forward to the present. An election is looming, and given Gladu’s history of irrational political behaviour, I felt that as my elected representative, I needed to get her attention. I called her out publicly on Facebook hoping that more people would realize that she is not the person she continually projects herself to be.
There are circulating stories of Gladu unabashedly showing up at churches around Lambton County soliciting votes as a person of faith. However, what most people don’t know is how she confesses to an extremist religious ideology that traditional Christianity has long condemned. And therein lies the danger as she casts votes at a federal level representing Sarnia-Lambton motivated by this religious extremism.
I knew I had her attention after she ordered me to “cease and desist” my comments. She suggested that I was breaking the code of conduct expected of a city councilor. I disagreed and saw it my responsibility to challenge her behaviour. As time went on, I was encouraged by a few people to meet Marilyn in person. “She is a great person, and if you could meet face to face, then it would probably change your opinion 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 22, 2019, at 10am and she led me into her boardroom along with a scribe enlisted to record our conversation. Gladu had a folder filled with screenshots of everything I’ve ever said about her. She was abrasive towards me and explained that she had reported me to the mayor and the integrity commissioner. 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 as a city councilor.” [Source] I called the IC a few days later, and he did not authenticate Gladu’s claim. Instead, he suggested that I should “be careful.” I can only assume this is why she has not filed a complaint.
During that same July 22 meeting, Gladu threatened to not work with me as a councilor. She said, “You are a city councilor, you are always a city council councilor. 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.” I intended to discuss our disagreements, but instead, I received a lecture on how my actions were “political suicide.” Implicitly, she was informing me that she wouldn’t support my efforts as a councilor if I went against her.
Undeterred, I asked her about how her religious beliefs shaped her understanding of Canada’s foreign relationships and where our support should go. Her subsequent responses revealed her fringe beliefs and how these beliefs motivate her political approach and decision making.
For example, she reveals her bias when talking 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 defense…I don’t know where you are going to move these Palestinian people…Palestine does not have any documented rights.”
In a further display of egregious ignorance, she said, “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.”
Israeli/Palestinian conflict is not without opposing points of view, 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. Just a few weeks ago in Canada, a Federal Court decision by Justice Anne Mactavish ruled: “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 the state of Israel not hold to her understandings of settlements on Palestinian territory, Canada doesn’t either. So where else could Marilyn get these ideas?
I fully recognize that a comprehensive understanding of the issues surrounding Israel/Palestine is not familiar to most outsiders. However, it is crucial that Galdu’s motives are made clear to all. We have an MP that disregards human rights and ignores the suffering of a people group because of a poisonous religious motivation. To make matters worse, she believes that Canada should use its resources to support these theological convictions, thus implicating us all. The fact that we have a Member of Parliament promoting toxic, religious extremism on these issues is troubling and dangerous, and we all need to do better.