CAFE Protests Monika Schaefer’s Exclusion from, Yellowhead Regional Arts Festival
Canadian Association for Free Expression
Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 5L3
Paul Fromm, B.Ed, M.A. Director
September 18, 2017
To: The Board of Directors
Yellowhead Regional Arts Festival Society,
Re: Exclusion of Participation by Monika Schaefer
We recently became aware of your September 8th decision to exclude Monika Schaefer from participating in your festival.
Monika has frequently volunteered her musical skills free of charge for benefits,. She is a friendly woman who has been deeply involved in environmental and social causes in the Jasper area for 35 years. She has four times run for public office. She is an accomplished violin player, as you well know, and teacher.
Now, she has been told by your Society not to attend.The reasons given are that your Society “promotes a safe learning environment” and that her presence “at our event would not be the correct fit.” These reasons are insulting, especially on the part of a community that proclaims its support for inclusion and diversity.
The insolence of this shunning is shocking. Monika would be paying for her own gas and donating her time and talent free of charge as she has many times for the same festival. The suggestion that the gentle Monika playing her violin would endanger someone’s safety is grotesque!
Your shoddy bit of backwoods bigotry is nothing more than punishment for Monika’s political or historical ideas. It stomps on the ideals of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms that holds that all Canadians have the right to “freedom of belief, freedom of expression.”
The Canadian Association for Free Expression, founded in 1983, is Canada’s leading free speech advocacy group and has intervened in numerous legal cases and before various human rights and administrative tribunals.
Hoping that you will rethink your position and welcome back this spirited musician, I remain