OP-ED – Where Do the Children Play?


In response to the article submitted by Sara Godwin titled: ‘Trampling 2SLGBTQIA+ Rights with a Bouncy Castle’

I had a lot of difficulties plowing my way through the entire tirade. ‘Trampling’ set the tone of the position that was going to be taken–moderate and reasonable were difficult to find. My sensitivities were being offended, and we all know what a travesty that has become. It reminded me of an incident that I was involved in, back in the mid-80’s.

A meeting of volleyball coaches decided that more time was needed to teach the skills necessary to return overhand serves by the grade 8 girls, so for their tournament, they would not be permitted. But, for the boys, it was felt that they could likely handle them, so they were allowed. I returned to my school and informed the teams of the decision. When one of the fathers got wind of this, he called the Ontario Human Rights Commission. He didn’t call me, not the school’s principal, nor the tournament organizer… heroically, he went straight to the top.

And, the OHRC, being the One-Stop-Shopping Centre for the disgruntled, took up the cause. It bi-passed all of the people who were directly involved and called the one person who was the furthest removed from the situation-the Director of Education. The Director called someone who had no idea what was going on…the principal, to get some clarification. I think the conversation went something like, ‘What, in Hades, is going on?’

The short version of what happened next is that:

  1. a) the tournament organizer quit….the event was canceled,
  2. b) the tournament was never run again.

The father probably thought that he was doing the right thing, but in hindsight, an intelligent approach would have benefitted the girls.

The same type of situation happened on Canada Day. A complaint was lodged the day before the event. What was the heinous act that prompted the complaint? A very large toy had been donated for the children to play on. Still don’t get it? The toy was donated by a church! Still doesn’t make much sense? Well here’s the part that goes from normal to just plain nuts: this church, like almost all others, does not sanction or condone gay marriages.

‘So what?’, you say? Well, according to this person’s convoluted reasoning, the organizers of the Canada Day festivities must be endorsing the church’s position and supporting the whole idea that the 2SLGBTQIA should be persecuted. Quite a leap of ‘logic’, don’t you think? They the Kemptville District Community Association probably thought that they were lucky to have someone in the community willing to donate a bouncy castle. Little did they know how bad things were going to get.

An emergency meeting of the KDCA was called. Members of the municipal Council were even brought in. In all likelihood, there were some on the committee who were tempted to say, ‘I have had enough of this nonsense. I’m quitting.’ I’d be willing to bet that many of them still have that thought in mind.

You can drag all the other extraneous, self-righteous, unrelated, unhelpful arguments into it that you want…and Ms. Godwin certainly excelled at doing that–but at the very core of all of the uproar was the nugget that a children’s toy had been donated and that someone, usurping the mantle of the 2SLGBTQIA’, was of the opinion that this was offensive because the donor was a church.

I would not say that they are ‘repugnant’ or ‘alienating’, as Sir Godwin has stated… (she is a knight now because this has become a Crusade)… they just have their own beliefs. The doctrines of churches versus the beliefs of their congregations are both very separate and different things, seldom in complete alignment.

People are still allowed to have their own beliefs, are they not? I understand that in this day of hyper-sensitivities when so many are so easily offended, and so many go to such great lengths to try to make sure that this ‘offensiveness’ is removed – surely there is room for divergent opinions and beliefs. Apparently not. It would appear that there are Canadians who will fiercely oppose anyone who publicly states their beliefs… if they are different from their own.

Is it becoming a fact that our country is not as nice/tolerant as we once believed it to be?

We are more than a month past ‘The Great Canada Day Bouncy Castle Debacle’, and still, the righteous indignation burns brightly. Not content with a) lodging a formal complaint, b) marching around Riverside Park with a protest sign that everyone did their best to ignore, and c) writing a lengthy excoriation of all who oppose her, this offended woman still persists.

Next year, we can all go to Oxford Mills or Merrickville to celebrate Canada Day. There won’t be a celebration in Kemptville. The KDCA Canada Day Committee will have disbanded. The volunteers will no longer be volunteering to give their community a celebration of their nation’s birthday. The persistently indignant can march around Riverside Park, holding high the banner of purity, self-righteousness and political correctness. And, the coffee shops on the main street will likely all be as empty as Riverside Park. The 2SLGBTQIA is also likely not pleased that Sir Godwin has become the most unpleasant face of their group. They will have distanced themselves as far as they can from her. I bet they have not sent any letters of thanks to the benighted Ms. Godwin.

 And the children? The ones who were looking forward to playing in or on the bouncy castle? Good luck trying to explain this one to them. It would be like trying to teach overhand serves to children who are just learning the game…they aren’t ready for it yet. The innocence of children would be a good thing to have right now.

I congratulate the KDCA for making Canada Day 2022, one of the best. Amidst all of this nonsense /turmoil, please remember how hard you worked and how many people benefitted. I also hope that the legal proceedings that have been taken against the chairperson of the KDCA are thrown out for being, a) illegal, and b) spurious. It is also my wish that this unfortunate occurrence (euphemism alert) becomes an example of how NOT to address a concern.

Here endeth the second letter of ‘Saint’ Peter to those who were Violated by the Vitriolic. (these opinions are my own and are not necessarily those of this publication. I stand by them, but I refuse to parade around with a sign that shouts at people, embarrasses them, and makes spurious claims).

Peter Johnson
(Upper Oxford Mills)


  1. For recognized meritorious service to the community a woman is awarded a damehood not a knighthood. Correct communication is so important.

    Had you simply communicated your reasons for not teaching girls the overhand serve all of the following chaos would have been prevented. Sadly you are still carrying it.


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