Medicine Hat bakery's pro-LGBTQ doughnuts a message to UCP MLAs
'When you bring a box of doughnuts somewhere, the door is always open,' says co-owner of McBride's Bakery
A bakery in Medicine Hat sent pro-LGBTQ doughnuts to UCP MLA Drew Barnes on Tuesday as a protest over a vote on gay-straight alliances at the party's policy convention.
McBride's Bakery delivered two dozen rainbow-sprinkled doughnuts, decorated with the words "acceptance" and "it's OK to be gay" to Barnes's constituency office.
"It was a fun, light way to start a conversation," said Carole Hillson, who owns McBride's with her husband, Brendan.
On Sunday, 57 per cent of members who voted were in favour of a resolution to reinstate parental consent if a student joins a GSA. The resolution is in response to Bill 24 which was passed into law last fall.
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LGBTQ advocates say this could out kids before they are ready to tell their parents about their sexual orientation.
Hillson said she and her husband were upset with the outcome of Sunday's vote so they decided to share their opinion with a box of rainbow-coloured confections.
Brendan isn't the bakery's usual decorator but he put the messages on the doughnuts, and took them to the constituency office. Hillson said her husband told the constituency staff the reason for the gift.
"It's one of the ways that we facilitate conversation," Carol Hillson said. "When you bring a box of doughnuts somewhere, the door is always open.
"If you want to have a serious conversation with somebody, hand them a doughnut and talk to them while they are chewing because doughnuts aren't crunchy and they're able to listen."
Tweet prompts backlash
Barnes sent a tweet thanking McBride's for the delivery.
"The @alberta_ucp is a diverse broad tent coalition with a variety of beliefs," he wrote." 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."
The tweet provoked backlash from people who suggested Barnes wasn't aware the bakery was trying to send him a message.
Barnes wouldn't stop on his way into the legislature Wednesday to take questions about the doughnuts or the reaction to his tweet. Instead, the party sent a written statement to reporters.
"I was happy to receive the delivery, which is why I shared the image and thanked the bakery," the statement said. "I have always encouraged my constituents to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns with me and I am glad McBride's did just that."
Thanks <a href="https://twitter.com/McBridesBakery?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@McBridesBakery</a> for the delivery. <br><br>The <a href="https://twitter.com/Alberta_UCP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@alberta_ucp</a> 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. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ableg?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ableg</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/medhat?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#medhat</a> <a href="https://t.co/G7WBFxoqSr">pic.twitter.com/G7WBFxoqSr</a>—@DrewBarnesMLA
Hillson said the response to the doughnut delivery has been overwhelmingly positive. She said she was also pleased with Barnes's response.
"I look forward to seeing the follow-up on that, especially with the other members of the UCP," she said.
Hillson said she knows Barnes and his family and joined the UCP to vote on policies. She urges people not to see people with differing opinions as "the enemy."
"Start by having reasonable conversations with people," she said. "And sometimes a nice gesture is a great way to start that."
As for people who say they plan to drive to Medicine Hat to buy a box of McBride's doughnuts, Hillson asks them to consider supporting their local independent bakery.