"It's ok to be gay": Local bakery sends message to MLA Drew Barnes

By Ashley Wiebe
May 9, 2018 - 4:46pm Updated: May 9, 2018 - 7:15pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — Brendan Hillson said he wasn’t trying to start an argument or attract online trolls when he sent a box of two dozen doughnuts to Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes on Tuesday.

Hillson owns McBride’s Bakery with his wife, Carole.

The doughnuts were covered in vanilla frosting and rainbow sprinkles. A few had blue frosting, spelling out a message which read, ‘It’s ok to be gay’.

Hillson said he was disappointed after the United Conservative Party voted in support to reverse the current laws, which protects students who join gay straight alliances so they aren’t outed without permission.

“There’s a lot of things that provincial governments should govern and really can worry about. There’s plenty of things in Alberta, right?” he said.

“Somebody’s gayness is not something provincial government needs to manage.”

Barnes thanked the bakery for the sweet treat over Twitter, saying ‘The United Conservative Party is a diverse broad tent coalition with a variety of beliefs. All are welcome regardless of who they love or how they worship. We will continue to represent all Albertans when we form government in 2019’.

“Social media has changed politics quite a bit,” he said, over the phone from Edmonton. “Its made it so people, like me, a little bit more in a fish bowl but I guess mostly I’m grateful that Albertans are sharing their thoughts and their ideas with me.”

When asked if Barnes would call himself a supporter of the LGBTQ community, he said “yes, I’m a supporter of all Albertans.”

Comments immediately began to pour in about the doughnuts.

One user asked Barnes “What was the last thing you did to support the LGBTQ community in Alberta?”

Canadian musician k.d. lang also tweeted back at Barnes, saying “Hmmm. Seems more like you’re talking outa [sic] both sides of your mouth. It’s pretty transparent. Albertans are not fools.”

Hillson said some of the comments he saw on Twitter were “embarrassingly uncivil” and “shockingly rude.”

“It’s funny, I just said it’s 2018, why are we talking about gay people and an election? And yet what just happened on Twitter happened because it’s 2018,” he said.

Hillson said he never had an agenda, but simply wanted to get his point across.

“I was trying to send a message to the provincial level political party,” he said. “You’re here with a camera, like, less than 24 hours later, so yeah, it worked.”

Invasive mussels discovered on boat during inspection at Dunmore station