Top row from left, Tofino councillors Dan Law, Duncan McMaster and Al Anderson, middle row from left, councillors Andrea McQuade, Britt Chalmers and mayor Josie Osborne, bottom row from left, councillor Tom Stere and Tofino CAO Bob MacPherson. (Andrew Bailey photo)

Tofino council signs #DifferentTogether pledge to oppose racism

Tofino’s municipal council has made a public pledge to “oppose racism and hate in all its forms.”

Tofino’s municipal council has made a public pledge to “oppose racism and hate in all its forms.”

The pledge was spurred by a #DifferentTogether campaign launched by B.C.’s Lieutenant Governor the Honourable Janet Austin to combat racial tensions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This pledge was initially crafted in a response to race-based discrimination and violence directed at BC’s East Asian population, but I do feel that it’s grown in salience as the intervening weeks have passed and some in Tofino have begun to tune in to a conversation around racism and systemic violence that’s been going on for a long time,” explained Coun. Andrea McQuade who brought the motion to council’s June 9 regular meeting. McQuade’s motion had been published on the meeting’s agenda, which was released on June 4, prior to anti-racism demonstrations that marched through Tofino on June. 8 and Ucluelet on June 7.

“I don’t think that we often bring these pledges forward as a council and I understand why; they can look like they pertain little to the fire, sewer and water that we’re tasked to deal with and they can run the risk of sounding like lip service,” McQuade said. “I’m bringing forward this motion today because I do believe that it has the capability to be more.”

She said the town’s local government deals with “the basic nuts and bolts” of running a community, citing infrastructure, land use and transportation decisions and suggested council should give clear focus to building a community that’s “at least as resilient as our infrastructure.”

“To take a pledge to oppose racism and to speak up isn’t lip service,” she said. “It’s to be actively involved in the anti-racist work of building resilient community with everyone in it and with each decision we make here about transportation, about affordable housing and about fire, sewer and water. I think that this is an opportunity to be accountable and to think critically about moving forward with integrity and doing better in all of our decisions.”

Council unanimously endorsed the pledge, though Coun. Al Anderson suggested a more inclusive motion would be needed in the near future.

“Not to detract or take away from the motion, but I think this motion doesn’t capture all marginalized communities,” Anderson said. “It’s addressing specifically race and ethnicity, which is certainly timely and very thoughtful but, I think, we need to go further and bring another motion forward to address some communities that may be missed in this motion.”

Mayor Josie Osborne noted Tofino’s council has not made a habit of declaring public pledges, but suggested that McQuade’s motion was an important step.

“I look forward to seeing what comes of this and I think there’s more actions to be taken by the District of Tofino and by this council and I think we will see them in the coming weeks, months and years,” she said.



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

READ MORE: VIDEO: Names of Chantel Moore and George Floyd ring through Ucluelet as anti-racism protest marches through town

READ MORE: PHOTOS: Emotions run high at Tofino’s anti-racism rally

READ MORE: Shooting victim Chantel Moore remembered as ‘the sweetest soul’

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Five Vancouver Island First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

Bear trapped and killed near Tofino-Ucluelet

“This bear just was not leaving humans alone,” said Conservation Officer Andrew Riddell.

Fire restrictions in Tofino and Ucluelet

“It is visitors and residents alike that struggle with this one on a yearly basis.”

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

Laid-off B.C. hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

Most Read