Steinbach pizzeria sign stirs Bill 18 controversy
Rajeev Dhir, CTV Winnipeg
Published Saturday, March 23, 2013 5:12PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, March 23, 2013 5:43PM CST
A Steinbach pizzeria owner apologized after a sign in front of his restaurant appeared to criticize the provincial government’s anti-bulling bill.
Bill 18 has stirred up controversy due to its requirement that all government funded schools allow students to form anti-bully groups, including gay-straight alliances.
Damian Penner owns Rocco’s Pizzeria. His billboard read, “We don't accept $18 bills...5, 10, 20s are fine though."
Penner insists the message is simply a play on words.
“There's been a lot of people that have taken it out of context,” he said. “They don't see it as a play on words. They've seen it as hurtful, also going as far as saying it was bigotry.”
Penner has changed the sign. He apologized with a Facebook message saying, “Rocco's Pizzeria does not hold a specific viewpoint either pro or against the bill. But the sign was posted as a conversation starter.”
Some community members aren’t convinced this is all just a misunderstanding.
“He's put it up for a reason. Everybody knows his view on the bill,” said Kaitlin Praznik.
Steinbach has become a focal point of opposition to the bill because of the outcry from local religious leaders.
Praznik believes views like this paint all Steinbach residents the same, even those who support the bill. Praznik and her partner have decided they are moving to Toronto at the end of the month.