We will be updating our 2021 information early in the new year when we get the go-ahead from our health authorities. Stay tuned.
A message from the Inclusive Communities Committee of Grey and Bruce, the Grey Bruce One World Festival, and Welcoming Communities Grey Bruce —
Recently in Owen Sound, someone placed an Islamophobic anti-mask poster on at least one storefront. This poster has also shown up in Durham, and can be found, verbatim, online. When we see this kind of material, it is important to report it to the police and to understand its source. In this case, the poster’s content displays all the fingerprints of the racist and anti-science conspiracy theories and groups that are proliferating online, stubbornly persisting, and rapidly gaining followers worldwide (see: https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/countering-radical-right/qanon-has-gone-fringe-conspiracy-full-blown-cult/ and https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/aug/11/qanon-facebook-groups-growing-conspiracy-theory).
The isolation, uncertainty, unemployment and economic hardship caused by COVID-19 makes vulnerable people — including young people — particularly susceptible to these conspiracy theories, and the Internet speeds their invisible global spread. This should concern us all.
The Atlantic magazine has been running a series of articles about conspiracy theories, and why we need to take them seriously. Here’s the link: https://www.theatlantic.com/press-releases/archive/2020/05/shadowland-on-the-power-and-danger-of-conspiracy/611641/
One of the largest of these conspiracy groups is QAnon, identified by the FBI as a domestic-terrorism concern in the U.S. Like other conspiracy groups, it disseminates unfounded and fear-based theories that promote hatred, mistrust and suspicion within our community (specifically against Jews, Muslims and immigrants), and against government institutions, and health and scientific authorities, among others. QAnon has moved from the fringe into the mainstream.
Here in Canada and abroad , QAnon followers are engaged in ongoing protests against current public-health measures (see: nbcnews.com/news/world/qanon-supporters-join-thousands-protest-against-germany-s-coronavirus-rules-n1238783 and https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/anti-mask-protest-montreal-1.5722033 ) and have presented real threats to our elected leaders, including our Prime Minister (see: https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/07/13/qanon-canada-trudeau-conspiracy-theory/) and the Premier of Quebec (see: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/qanon-quebec-anti-mask-conspiracy-theory-violence-1.5726891). In the U.S., its supporters have been responsible for several violent acts (see: https://www.insider.com/qanon-violence-crime-conspiracy-theory-us-allegation-arrest-killing-gun-2020-8 and https://ctc.usma.edu/the-qanon-conspiracy-theory-a-security-threat-in-the-making/).
It is helpful to understand how/why these conspiracy theories and groups attract followers and how to combat their ideas. The Alliance for Science has a good resource for this: https://allianceforscience.cornell.edu/conspiracy-theory-handbook/. (You can scroll down to find a highlighted link to the “handbook” with tips on how to talk to someone who shares these ideas.) An article from Psychology Today also offers advice on how to talk to someone caught up by conspiracy theories here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/ca/blog/psych-unseen/202009/4-keys-help-someone-climb-out-the-qanon-rabbit-hole and this site has some tips, too: https://www.engadget.com/how-to-talk-to-people-about-qanon-123045910.html.
We are proud to live and work in a vibrant and diverse Grey and Bruce that embraces everyone of all backgrounds, ages and abilities — and we urge everyone to stand with us against racism and work together to keep each other healthy and to strengthen our welcoming community.
— For information on the many groups and organizations working for diversity and inclusivity, click on the Diversity Links and Resources page.
New Initiative in Grey Bruce: Settlement Services
Grey Bruce Settlement Services is a collaboration between YMCA of Owen Sound Grey Bruce and Welcoming Communities Grey Bruce to support you in effectively settling, integrating, and calling Grey and Bruce counties your home.
This program offers a central place to help you feel more connected to your new community through many resources and partnerships with other local service agencies.
These free services are mobile and staff will be able to meet with you in the community where you live, throughout Grey Bruce.
Settlement and language services are open to:
Permanent Residents (also called Landed Immigrants); without Canadian Citizenship
A person in Canada who was received an approval-in-principal letter for their application for permanent residence
- Convention refugee
- Protected persons
- Temporary worker or student who has obtained initial approval for a concurrent application for permanent residence
If you are not eligible for these services, you will be referred to a program in the community that can help.
Settlement Services & Referrals:
Settlement workers are here to provide one-on-one support, answer your questions and help you find the resources you need in your community.
Information and resources for COVID-19:
Grey Bruce Public Health Information
Ontario Ministry of Health
Government of Canada
Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force
United Way Grey Bruce
M’Wikwedong Indigenous Friendship Centre
Resources and Supports for Newcomers and Immigrants Affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic
In 2020, the ICC and the Grey Bruce One World Festival became part of Welcoming Communities Grey Bruce (welcominggreybruce.ca). Welcoming Communities Grey Bruce (WCGB) works to create an inclusive and welcoming Grey Bruce, where differences are celebrated and no one is left behind, by:
— providing local education, counselling, referrals and other support services, including language instruction, employment training, job-search programs, translation services and information programs on regional and Canadian culture and life, for immigrants, refugees and newcomers in need,
— engaging community members in planning and activities to reduce social, racial, cultural and institutional barriers, and support a welcoming and inclusive Grey Bruce, and
— collaborating with public, not-for-profit and private organizations and businesses to ensure that the needs of newcomers to Grey and Bruce are met and to build a welcoming and inclusive region for all residents.
2020 Welcoming Communities Grey Bruce (WCGB) board members are (back row from left) Nicholas Forrester, Waleed Aslam, Muna Shrestha, Manpreet Kaur Sangha, Donald Anderson, Colleen Purdon and David Morris, with staff members (front row from left) Olga Jura and Map Ip from WCGB’s Rural Pathways to Employment for Visible-Minority Newcomer Women program.
— And congratulations to the Grey Bruce One World Festival for receiving a 2017 Owen Sound Cultural Award: