A man held up a sign that targeted Niagara West MPP Sam Oosterhoff at a rally outside the Ontario PC Convention in Niagara Falls, Ont., on Saturday.
The sign that had a photo of Oosterhoff read, “A problem an abortion could have solved.”
Toronto Sun columnist Brian Lilley was the first person to tweet about the sign. Lilley tweeted that this sign is “a sick and disgusting remark.”
The man has been identified as Adam Stirr, the co-founder of animal rights group At War for Animals Niagara. Stirr made a Facebook post saying that he was the person who held up the sign.
“I designed, printed, and paid for it myself for $20,” said Stirr in a Facebook post. “I am not a teacher or associated with any union that was present. I was present to stand against the idea that 50.4% of the population should have less rights than the rest, which this Conservative MPP has publicly stated on multiple occasions.”
Stirr said that he made the sign in May 2019. Stirr protested with the sign at an abortion protest in Brantford, Ontario, in May 2019 and at the 40 Days for Life in Grimsby, Ontario, in October 2019.
He went to the rally outside the Ontario PC Convention to protest against Premier Doug Ford’s policies. He said that it was mostly teachers protesting outside the Ontario PC Convention, but there were pro-abortion protestors gathered.
He happened to be holding up his sign among Catholic teachers, which he said were everywhere in the protest.
“I was just wanting to get my spot at the window to make sure hopefully that Sam was inside there and maybe Sam would see my sign,” he said.
Oosterhoff could not be reached for comment.
Government House Leader Paul Calandra condemned the sign at a press conference after the rally.
“I think it was probably one of the most disturbing and disgusting things that I have seen,” said Calandra.
Minister of Education Stephen Lecce tweeted that the sign should not have been displayed at the rally.
“We raise our children to be civil, decent, and respectful,” tweeted Lecce. “This language has no place in our democracy.”
Stirr said that it is wrong for Oosterhoff to advocate against ending abortion.
“If you find my simple sign offensive, imagine how offensive it is to you for someone to suggest in a position of power to take away bodily autonomy rights for 50.4 percent of the population,” said Stirr. “That is what is offensive.”