Sask. mayor says 'white lives matter' signs posted in community 'something we can’t tolerate'
NORTH BATTLEFORD -- Concern is being raised over "white lives matter" posters that have been put up in North Battleford, Saskatchewan.
“We’re concerned about that type of propaganda because there was reference to a website that appears to be aligning itself with symbols of hate and obviously this is something we can’t tolerate in our community,” Mayor David Gillan told CTV News.
The signs included an address for a website affiliated with a group that has been classified as white supremacist by the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League.
He said the posters appeared around the time the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission (CRCC) released its report into how the RCMP discriminated against Colten Boushie’s family.
Boushie, an Indigenous man, was shot and killed in an SUV on Gerald Stanley’s farm near Biggar in August 2016. Stanley was acquitted.
The CRCC detailed how, after the shooting, officers took a tactical approach as they went to Colten’s mother Debbie Baptiste’s trailer to inform her of his death.
Police told Baptiste, who had broken into tears, to “get it together” and questioned whether she had been drinking, smelled her breath and searched her home, the commission said.
It is unclear whether the posters are related to the Boushie case
Gillan said the city has talked to the RCMP about the posters to see if they are considered a hate crime.
The Battlefords Regional Community Coalition (BRCC) said it also informed RCMP about the posters in a recent meeting and wanted to speak out “against a slogan that has well-documented ties to white supremacist and Neo-Nazi organizations.”
BRCC said acts and language like this make it harder for the community to heal from its “many dark chapters characterized by racial injustice.”
“Reactionary sentiments such as ‘white lives matter’ undermine our ability to heal these wounds and build anymore inclusive and prosperous future for all. It is a slogan that has no place in our society, and we collectively condemn it,” the coalition said in a release issued Monday.
The BRCC said it’s calling on the RCMP as well as the provincial and federal government to join in the fight against racism.
The City of North Battleford released a statement Tuesday to comment on the CRCC’s report and the issue of racism in the community in general.
“We wish to declare unequivocally that racism is unacceptable under any circumstances and that we as a City cannot allow racism in any form to be a part of our community,” the statement said.
“Unfortunately, there have been too many examples of people who do not share this value for reasons we cannot begin to understand. In response, we are asking residents and the community to stand with us in stopping this scourge on our society.”
It goes on to say that its goal is to be an inclusive community where cultural diversity and history is not only embraced, but celebrated.