Edmonton library trustee after calling CEO’s post ‘transphobic’
Correction: A previous version of this story had an incorrect headline that claimed Jill Scheyk was a librarian. She was actually a library trustee.
A former board member of the Edmonton Public Library claims that the library CEO asked her to resign after she requested that the CEO apologize for posting a “transphobic” article to her Twitter acount. On Monday, Jill Scheyk gave the library her letter of resignation, according to CBC News.
A spokesperson for the Edmonton Public Library told The Post Millennial the CEO was not involved in the library board’s decision.
The Library CEO, Pilar Martinez, posted an opinion article that was published by the National Post to her Twitter account in October 2019. The article supported a librarian from the Toronto Public Library named Vickery Bowles.
Bowles defended free speech when guest speaker Meghan Murphy was set to speak at the library. Meghan Murphy is the founder of a website called Feminist Current.
Many people in the LGBTQ community wanted Murphy’s lecture to be canceled because they did not agree with her views. The library stuck with their initial decision and allowed Murphy to speak because the appearance did not go against their policy.
Murphy’s speech was held in October and hundreds of people showed up to protest the event.
When Scheyk saw the article posted on Martinez’s personal Twitter account, she emailed Martinez asking her to make an apology for the post.
“I had written an email privately to Pilar [Martinez] and the rest of the board members, you know, kind of framing this as, ‘I’m sure you didn’t intend it this way but this is actually some really transphobic language, and I think this is pretty offensive to people in the community and I think we really owe them an apology,'” Scheyk told CBC News.
She also learned about a blog post that Martinez made in support of free speech. The post was added to the Edmonton Public Library website on Nov. 1.
“Controversial or even offensive speech does not equal hate speech,” said Martinez in her post. “Censorship is a double-edged sword — while it may support your personal views today, it may be used to censor your views tomorrow.”
Scheyk, who joined the EPL board in May of 2015, disagreed with the post. She then made her own post on Twitter encouraging members of the public to engage future board meetings.
“I just kind of tweeted without really referencing the issue because I didn’t want to stir any additional reaction,” said Scheyk. “Just to say, ‘You know, if you have feelings about what we’re doing here at the library, our board meetings are open to the public.’”
The board sent a letter to Scheyk on Nov. 12 informing her that she had breached the EPL’s code of conduct. The letter noted that if Scheyk wasn’t able to meet the board’s expectations “it may be that the duty of the trustee is to resign.”
The letter also said that her behaviour “provided a catalyst for anonymous and extremely disrespectful input towards our CEO and EPL in general.”
“Your email to the CEO and copied to the board on Oct. 31, 2019, encouraging an apology from our CEO to particular community members was without awareness or input from the board.”
Scheyk later made the decision to hand her resignation into the library.
The chair of the library’s board of trustees, Fern Snart stated in an email that the board would not be making specific comments on the situation because Scheyk’s resignation is an internal matter.
“I can assure you that the EPL board of trustees is focused on acting in the best interest of Edmontonians and the library, and we welcome diverse views and healthy debate around the board table–in fact, it is what makes EPL great.”
On Tuesday, Scheyk said, “It was good to finally be able to voice my concerns out loud. You’re under a gag order as a trustee or employee. I actually feel like I have more impact now than I could have as a trustee.”
An extraordinary scene unfolded in Edmonton this afternoon as citizens drove to the site of an anti-pipeline train blockade, tore it down, and loaded it into a truck.
Global TV’s Nicole Stillger tweeted “Counter-protestors hauling away the blockade and loading it into this truck.”
People are beginning to speak up and take action against the anti-pipeline protests and blockades as Canada’s economy is stalling.
City News’ Carly Robinson revealed via Twitter that the protestors had been served with an injunction.
Fletcher Kent of Global added that “Counter protesters in Edmonton have all but hauled away the barricades on the CN tracks. A protester is talking like it’s all over now. A few protesters have walked away already.”
Earlier today, Minister Doug Schweitzer posted on Twitter in response to the Cuzzins of Wetsuweten protests, calling the blocking of economic infrastructure “an offence [that] will not be tolerated.”
The blockade is the work of the “Cuzzins of Wet’suwet’en” group that was endorsed by Extinction Rebellion Edmonton.
The protests and blockades throughout Canada are a response to the raid of an anti-pipeline camp in northern British Columbia that was set up to oppose the building of the Coastal GasLink pipeline on Wet’suwet’en territory.
Despite the protests, the Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council and the majority of hereditary chiefs support the pipeline project.
As for the blockade in Edmonton, the tracks are now clear.
A blockade has been set up at an Edmonton railway from a new environmental radical group, the self-proclaimed “Cuzzins of Wetsuweten.”
The protestors, roughly two dozen in size, say they set up on the railway in support of anti-pipeline Wet’suwet’en peoples.
The group was spotted setting up at roughly 4 a.m. MST, setting up a blockade made up of wooden pallets, a vehicle, tents, and several foot soldiers. One member of the group confirmed that they called CN Railway before setting up their blockade.
The group says they do not plan on leaving until their demands are met.
According to CTV, the group did manage to stop a train from progressing, eventually slamming on its brakes and retreating.
One spokesperson who spoke with CTV who went by the name “Poundmaker,” told reporters, “Our focus is to get Coastal GasLink to respect Wet’suwet’en law and remove themselves from their territory along with the royal colonial mountain police. were planning on staying here until those demands are met… as soon as that happens, we’re out of here.”
No Royal Canadian Mounted Police have reported to the scene.
Minister Doug Schweitzer posted on Twitter in response to the Cuzzins of Wetsuweten protests, calling the blocking of economic infrastructure “an offence [that] will not be tolerated.”
Minister Schweitzer also said in the tweet that the CN Rail is “seeking an emergency injunction this morning, which the Government of Alberta fully supports.”
Though it’s unclear who exactly is behind the Cuzzins of Wet’suwet’en group, there was a post from Extinction Rebellion Edmonton promoting the group. That group’s Twitter account was only opened in February of 2020.
According to Dalhousie University’s website, Khadr will be speaking at an event titled Children’s Rights Upfront: Preventing the Recruitment and Use of Children in Violence in February, 2020.
The event will be hosted by the CBC’s Nahlah Ayed and will feature others who served as child soldiers, notably Ishmael Beah, now Sierra Leonian activist.
Khadr, who is well known for his victory in Canadian court for winning over $10 million dollars for human rights abuses, has been on somewhat of a media tour in recent months. After purchasing an Edmonton-area strip mall, Khadr appeared on CBC’s Tout Le Monde En Parle, a French-language TV show which gave him a hero’s welcome.
The event will also feature remarks from Dr. Shelly Whitman and author and Canadian hero Hon. Roméo Dallaire, who is well known for his work in Rwanda during the nation’s genocide.
“The event coincides with the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers Red Hand Day on February 12. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of the Dallaire Initiative’s partnership with Dalhousie University,” the event description reads.
In 2019, a judge ruled that Khadr’s war crimes had expired. He was then relieved of bail conditions. This allowed him to obtain a Canadian passport.
A liquor store in Edmonton is testing out a new security program to combat a string of thefts over the past 18 months. Under the proposed new security system, customers will have to scan their ID before they can enter the premises according to a recent article in CBC.
Alcanna, Canada’s biggest private retailer of alcohol is launching a pilot project in partnership with Edmonton police. The project will be tested at Ace Liquor, located at 11708 34th St. in northeast Edmonton. Alcanna stated the intent of the project is to deal with “the epidemic of liquor store robberies that has plagued the city,” a problem that has escalated rapidly in the past year and a half.
“In 2019, EPS officers responded to almost 9,600 calls of theft of liquor — about 26 calls per day across the city,” Const. Robin Wilson said in the release. An increase of 200 percent since 2018.
“It’s not just people taking advantage of something that is easy, it’s somebody preying on people as well,” he said.
Dale McFee, Chief of Edmonton police told CBC News that investigators often find that some of the thefts are gang-related and that it presents a huge problem for the city.
“Ultimately, the way we are right now and the amount of officer time and different things that are going on in this space, it’s not working. So it’s time to try a few things.”
The new scan system requires patrons to scan their identification before the door will unlock and allow entry into the store. This practice has already been used by bars and nightclubs in Edmonton for years.
The Alcanna pilot project has been positively received by many including Const. Wilson who commended the company for “taking proactive steps to increase the safety of both their employees and the general public,”
Joe Cook is the vice-president of Alcanna which in addition to Ace Liquor, also owns the Liquor Depot, Wine and Beyond and Nova Cannabis brands. “Just as was done with pre-pay and pay at the pump for gas stations, we are hoping Patronscan creates a safer shopping experience,” said Cook in a news release. “This is not shoplifting,” he said. “It is robbery with real or threatened violence.”
Edmontonians won’t have to worry about their privacy rights as the customer ID information will not be kept in the devices but stored in Patronscan’s data centre with restricted access, according to a press release from Alcanna.