Stephen Boissoin in the Kelowna hospital (contributed image).

Red Deerians supporting cancer-stricken pastor with controversial past

Stephen Boissoin’s family is in dire financial straits

A former Red Deer pastor, who caused provincial controversy over his anti-homosexual letter to the Advocate in 2002, has been stricken with cancer in Kelowna, B.C.

Many Red Deerians – even those with homosexual friends – have been fundraising to help Boissoin, his wife and their five-year-old daughter get through the fiscal difficulties they are experiencing.

While some organizers of a fundraiser Saturday at Cheer’s Pub in Red Deer, were taken aback to hear about Stephen’s controversial past, they decided his family needs their support — so the benefit with music, a silent auction and raffle, is going ahead.

One friend feels Stephen has learned from the controversy: “He has certainly softened over the years … and has come away a better person.”

Boissoin’s anti-gay letter got broad coverage after a formal complaint to the Alberta Human Rights Commission was made by former Red Deer teacher Darren Lund.

A court case over it was eventually heard by the Alberta Court of Appeal, which ruled in 2012 Boissoin did not go far enough to violate the Alberta Human Rights Act.


Court upholds verdict

While local fundraisers don’t support the views expressed in his letter, they say “Everyone deserves a second chance…

“Cancer is certainly something that brings us together in commonality. It affects us all.”

Some $15,000 has been raised so far for the Boissoins — who moved to Kelowna a couple of years ago — through a Go Fund Me campaign. The page states that neither Stephen nor his wife, Heather, are now working. Stephen had just left a job when he was diagnosed with stage-four non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and is no longer well enough to seek other employment.

Heather (formerly Lynch), who’d made many friends in Red Deer through serving at Cheer’s Pub and working at a local copy shop, is a stay-at-home mom who’s been volunteering with a Kelowna homeless shelter.

Friends say the cost of Boissoin’s cancer-fighting medication is only partially covered in B.C., and even groceries are a huge financial burden on the family.

Saturday’s 6 p.m. benefit, featuring three local bands, is free. But donations will be accepted throughout the night and all money will go to the family. Local artists and merchants can drop off items for the silent auction until 3 p.m. Saturday at Cheers.

Donations can also be made at

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Red Deer property taxes to go up 2.15 per cent in 2019

City council approves $369.8 million budget

Sylvan Lake council approves concept plan for new park

Pogadl Park will eventally be home to numerous ball diamonds and sports fields

One person dead after collision on Highway 2A

Pickup truck and grain truck collided on Highway 2A south of Carstairs

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Shooter pleads guilty to manslaughter in Stettler

A Stettler man charged with second-degree murder has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.… Continue reading

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Most Read