The Ryerson Conservatives, a campus club at Ryerson University in Toronto posted a statement condemning the destruction of the Egerton Ryerson statue and called on Conservatives across the country to stop being afraid of fighting "cultural battles." The statement defended the reputation of Egerton Ryerson while condemning the Toronto Police and the university for their response to the crisis.
The statement said that the Ryerson Conservatives have "worked tirelessly" and "completely on [their] own" to protect the reputation of Ryerson. The statement calls out the "kangaroo-court task force" at Ryerson university for purposefully moving slowly in order to facilitate "protestors to do their job for them by pulling the statue down themselves." The group also called out the provincial Progressive Conservative Party and federal Tories for a "breathtaking level of cowardice."
In response, many prominent Canadian leftist and activists made pseudo-threats and called for intolerance towards Ryerson Conservatives and conservatives as a whole. One user writing, "The greatest argument against democracy is that the Ryerson Conservatives are part of it." Another, socialist writer and podcast host Nora Loreto said, "Why is there even a Conservative club? Back in my time, we ran them off campus. The club was reduced to two weirdos." Loreto declined a request for comment.
The Ryerson Conservatives released an updated statement telling the agitators to "keep it coming" in regards to the online hate. "No amount of online hate will make us back down or apologize for defending the legacy of Egerton Ryerson," the update reads. The updated statement also praises Ryerson for his friendship with Indigenous communities and his fluency in First Nations languages.
Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole was also pulled into the mix when a Facebook video of a Zoom meeting with the Ryerson Conservatives was dug up. In the video from November 2020, O'Toole tells the group about how Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Jean Chrétien opened more residential schools then Ryerson's time and how it was Mulroney and Harper who apologized for residential schools and ordered the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. "Conservatives, when it comes to residential schools in the modern era, have a better record than the Liberals" he told them.
O'Toole in the video says that when "Ryerson was called in" his efforts were "meant to provide education" and "it became a horrible program that harmed people." Many criticized O'Toole for these comments saying he was down playing the residential school system. O'Toole later issued an apology and said that he misspoke.
Ryerson Conservatives have been contacted to provide comment and the story will be updated if they do so.