Candidate for Woodstock city council previously assaulted a peaceful pro-life activist

By Jonathon Van Maren

On November 15, 2017, at the corner of Dundas and Wilson in the City of Woodstock, a woman aggressively approached individuals peacefully sharing a pro-life message. Volunteer Craig Van Manen described her as “yelling at me to give her my sign” after which “she proceeded to slap eggs against it.”

In the presence of at least one witness, Van Manen states, she “then grabbed my sign and jostled with me for a moment over it before letting go. I held my ground calmly and firmly. I tried to start a conversation with her to no avail. She walked back to her car yelling that she would bring the matter to the mayor. As Wilma, a fellow member of Oxford Against Abortion, legally crossed the street to film the incident on her phone, the woman stepped around the corner again (coming back from her car) to throw an egg at us and missed.”

This woman’s name is Kate Leatherbarrow, and she is now running for Woodstock City Council. The day after the incident, she posted on Facebook that when she saw the individuals sharing their message “something in me broke and I have taken action.” She failed to mention that the “action(s)” she took would be properly categorized under criminal law as assault, assault with a weapon, and attempted theft. The incident was reported to police, who stated that they planned to warn Ms. Leatherbarrow in relation to the incident.

Ms. Leatherbarrow had choices. She could have instead engaged in civil debate or decided to also peacefully share her views on the public street. Instead, she premeditatively and intentionally committed physical violence against those who hold and share a different view from her own.

With the rising rates of violence against those who share a pro-life message in Canada, a person who has previously assaulted individuals just because she disagrees with their message is not a viable political candidate. Instead, those who fill political office should respect fundamental freedoms and support the right to civil debate. This is foundational to work as a public servant. In order for a public servant to be fit for office, they should be capable of responding reasonably to those with whom they disagree, and they should have the temperament that restrains them from criminal acts motivated by their opinion. Voters should reject Ms. Leatherbarrow on October 22.

13 thoughts on “Candidate for Woodstock city council previously assaulted a peaceful pro-life activist

  1. Dr. Elise Rose says:

    A prolifer was attacked outside Naples Planned Parenthood Monday morning. A man exited PP to violently attack a man praying the rosary. The prolifer was injured badly enough to send him to the hospital.

  2. Cathy says:

    This certainly doesn’t sound like the Kate I have come to know in the past few months. Passionate yes, violent no. Was this written about previously, or only in the days leading up to the current municipal election? Seems a tad bit too timely to me.

    • Suze says:

      Exactly. Why wasnt this brought to light when the incident occurred that day. 2 days before the election and this comes out. Interesting
      Kate is my friend and I will defend her because she is amazing and wants to create change

      • Jonathon Van Maren says:

        I wrote the article after we realized that someone who had assaulted a pro-life activists was running for political office. It most certainly happened, and this article was reviewed by a lawyer who possesses the victim and witness statements before publication.

        • Cathy says:

          And is there a supposed police report? And I am curious if in fact she was contacted by police. Also, where is the captured footage? (I have certainly seen lots of footage of other people in their altercations, and it makes me wonder how many are antagonized just for the sake of ‘getting that footage’.) That being said, the methods used to try and ‘garner support’ are in fact alienating your group from the very people you hope to ‘educate’. It is a shame your particular group, more than any other perhaps, has resorted to this approach. I don’t really consider myself pro ‘anything’, but do believe that situations are not all the same. For instance, I experienced an ectopic pregnancy, and I have been told everything from the choice to end the pregnancy was appropriate, to my life would/should have been secondary to the life of the unborn child, which in this case, would not have been viable. And although sad, what about rape victims. Yes, I hear of some who follow through with consequent pregnancies, but would also understand a decision to end the pregnancy. And admittedly, I am not religious although I do respect that people have different beliefs. I for one, believe I am born, live, die, and become compost. And that is okay. It is the cycle of life (in my mind). Although many likely feel like me, I know that others would passionately disagree.

  3. Bob says:

    This is, at best, an amateurish gossip post. Not evidence-based one bit. And the timing of the article is completely suspect, if not outright sneaky. As a Woodstock resident, I am insulted that this frivolous kind of “reporting” has entered the scene.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      The quotes are directly from the young man who was assaulted, the witnesses were personally talked to, and a lawyer reviewed and edited the entire post before it was published, as well as reviewing the contemporary evidence. If it was simply gossip than it would be a personally dangerous thing to publish. It is, however, not gossip.

  4. Cathy says:

    All that being said, it is about the graphic nature of the imagry that is at the heart of Kate Leatherbarrow’ concerns. 🙂

  5. Trev says:

    For the pace this blog post has been shared across social media it’s lovely to see that it has not had the intended effect I’m sure you had hoped for. The vast majority of people that have read this are now even more likely to vote for Kate than not. This is nothing more than a timed political hit piece that almost everyone sees through. Another pathetic attempt to intimidate people that stand up to or disagree with your own personal beliefs.

    • Jonathon Van Maren says:

      It is important that people have all the facts. If they’d like to vote for her anyway, that is of course their choice. Some people do not object to her actions, as many people are actually okay with assaulting pro-life activists who utilize tactics they disagree with. I’m quite aware of that. So this post was for those who were deciding who to vote for, and were unaware of her interactions. Those who support her have indicated that this new information makes no difference, and many others were glad to factor this information into their decision. Which is why the information was released–to give people all the facts.

  6. Ann says:

    People should not be attacked for trying to educate the public about abortion. If a women is given assistance to abort then she should also be educated about the life that she is carrying inside of her and she should be given assistance in raising that child if she doesn’t have the means but chooses to save that child’s life. Doing anything else is undemocratic to say the least but also evil on so many levels. If any candidate for public office can’t see that then they should not be running as they are suppose to represent all members of the public and not just those that support their own limited agendas. Education is the key, thank you to those that are spreading the knowledge and those
    that support the most vulnerable in society.

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