Petrolia neighbours worried about hate groups after posters appear

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The poster which appeared on James St.

A Petrolia family is wondering if a new hate group is forming right in their neighbourhood.

And they’ve asked the OPP to investigate.

The family, whose identity we’re protecting, contacted The Independent saying signs – with what appeared to be some of the language used in the far right movement – started appearing on telephone poles on James St. The photocopied signs read “Calling all local patriots” and have a QR code which links to the Telegram account of a group names Lambton County & LDN Active Club.

The family says patriot is often a term used by hate groups and they’re concerned.

“The idea that these groups are advertising recruitments right outside my house, right where my kids play, terrifies me. I have gay and trans family members. My neighbours are refugees. I love my neighbourhood and want everyone to feel safe here. But they can’t if hate groups are allowed to post recruitment flyers and operate in secret like this,” they said.

The family contacted Lambton OPP and Petrolia’s bylaw control office – which is administered by Lambton County. They were told the OPP is investigating.

Lambton OPP didn’t return our request for information by press time.

However, The Independent has learned the small group bills itself as a fitness group. Text messages on Telegram shown to the paper show users talking about the Freedom Convoy and then, the owner of the group raising the issue of drag shows in local libraries. He presenting a video of trans youth, asking “Do u (sic) think it is OK for two lesbians on hormones to cover a child into transgenderism?”

The owner of the group later asks a user if they would be willing to “apply energy towards combating the above type of grooming of children.”

Later, the owner says “If you are in any way sympathetic to child sex change surgery, puberty blockers to prepubescent children or promotion of transgenderism to children your beliefs do not align with ours and you will be barred from membership.”

Crystal Fach of Diversity Ed is not surprised by the online exchange saying Diversity Ed gets people “coming at us in droves” saying they are “indoctrinating their children to become trans and that we are grooming kids.”

Fach says in the last few years people have increasingly attacked the trans community saying it is freedom of speech. “They’re using freedom of speech to direct hate.”

Fach says there are a number of groups in Lambton tracking the small hate groups popping up over the internet and acting at night.

If anyone sees signs of a hate group, Fach says they should contact police or the Sarnia Alliance Against Hate.

“It’s important the community knows these groups are here because ultimately, it is vulnerable people targeted. Those folks need to know they are here so they can be watchful.”

Fach adds despite the disturbing nature of the group “we have more allies than those who hate us” in Lambton.