A prominent Saskatoon real estate agent is under fire for questioning the gender of Canada's chief public health officer Theresa Tam, as well earlier statements against mask-wearing and COVID-19 vaccinations.
"It's amazing someone thinks this is OK to not only think these things, but to say them publicly," OUT Saskatoon's co-interim director Jack Saddelback said. "This mentality is not welcome in our country and in our community."
A news article was posted this week on Twitter with Tam's vaccine recommendations. One commenter asked why she — meaning Tam — still has a job.
"You mean he..." Saskatoon real estate agent Cam Bird replied on the public page.
Bird continued a few minutes later.
"How Do they say ... identify as a female now but pretty certain wasn't the same gender at birth," Bird wrote.
Saddleback and other critics called Bird's comments "transphobic," and said they should not be tolerated by his professional association, his regulator or by the RE/MAX brand he represents.
Others say home buyers and sellers have a right to know whether their agent believes in following COVID-19 public health laws.
Although Bird could not be reached for comment Friday, he posted an apology about the remarks to his Facebook page over the weekend. On Monday morning, that post was no longer visible to the public, but it has since reappeared. His Twitter account appears to have been deleted.
In the post, Bird acknowledged the comments were "very hurtful."
"I was unaware of how those comments would be so hurtful not only to Dr. Tam but to members of the Trans Community," Bird said in the post.
"Hurtful comments like mine can leave lasting wounds and for that reason I understand that it will be difficult to simply accept that I am deeply sorry, but I am."
Bird said in the post that since Thursday, he's had some time to reflect on himself, the comments and those who he offended.
"During these past few days I've had time to reflect on myself and those hurtful comments to those whom I've offended. It does not represent who I am or my families values and I assure you that I can and will do better going forward by taking sensitivity training so as to become more knowledgeable and aware to all those that are discriminated against in our society."
Bird's latest comments followed other public Facebook posts saying he won't be getting the COVID-19 vaccine and won't be wearing a mask.
"I'm taking a hard pass on any of these fixes until I see years worth of testing, and even than I'm not sure," Bird wrote.
Fellow Saskatoon agent Norm Fisher said it's important for all members of his profession to follow public health laws, and to set a good example. He said Bird's comments are "not reflective of what most realtors believe.
"I don't like wearing a mask, but I get it. It's a small inconvenience. Some people just slip down these deep, dark rabbit holes," Fisher said.
"And comments on the gender identity or sexual orientation of anyone is never appropriate. We're best not to speak about things we don't understand."
Neither the Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission nor RE/MAX Saskatoon returned interview requests Friday. An official with the Canadian Real Estate Commission said they do not comment on complaints unless there is a finding against an agent.
The Saskatchewan Realtors' Association issued a written statement saying their organization believes in inclusion and diversity.
"The SRA does not condone Mr. Bird's unfortunate comments, nor do they reflect the values and beliefs of the SRA," read the statement.
The statement said the SRA "has mechanisms in place" to deal with members if complaints are made.
Hebert and several others say they contacted or laid complaints with these bodies. Saddleback said he hopes they communicate the results openly and promptly.
"Silence sends a strong message. Where do they stand on human rights in our country?" Saddleback said.
Two-spirit actor and comedian Dakota Ray Hebert, who saved some of the posts that Bird has now deleted, agreed with Saddleback.
"Are you kidding me? Imagine being so stupidly bold to think you could lob these comments publicly, on pages where you also do your job?" Hebert said.
Saddelback and Hebert offered to help Bird learn more about these issues. They want him to see how these comments can damage mental health and contribute to the extremely high rates of violence against gender diverse people.
In addition to this week's comments about Tam, Bird has been a frequent critic of COVID-19 health rules.
Last month, Bird posted a lengthy story comparing health and government officials to an abusive boyfriend who controls and restricts his partner's movements.
"I know he's only doing this because he loves me ... he's doing this for my own good," it read.
Just before Christmas, he posted a photo on his public Facebook page reading, "The GOVT Convinced you To take an experimental VAX."
Last August, he posted, "I'm fine if everyone wishes to wear masks as I hope you are fine if I don't!"
Several of his COVID-19 posts, as well as others falsely claiming voter fraud in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, were either removed by Facebook or were labelled as "false" or "partly false" information by Facebook.