For Immediate Release
January 26, 2007
Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver BC – “To openly applaud a blatantly racist joke and then to attempt to trivialize the matter represents acts of arrogant disregard of the duties of a responsible member of Parliament,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs.
Grand Chief Phillip was responding to media reports stating that Colin Mayes (MP for Okanagan-Shuswap) stated "good joke" in response to an October 21, 2006 e-mail “joke” about a First Nations man who is referred to as "chief" or “Tonto.”
“It is absolutely incumbent on Colin Mayes to immediately apologize” stated Grand Chief Phillip. “If he chooses to continue to attempt to deflect and deny the intent of his response, his role as chair of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples is completely compromised and must be reviewed.”
“To perpetuate the inherent ignorance of racism is inexcusable and left unchallenged only serves to further institutionalized the offensive and harmful effects of racism. Let me be perfectly clear, this is not a bi-partisan issue between the Conservatives and Liberals. Rather this is a violation of fundamental human rights. It is not a joking matter, in the event that Colin Mayes refuses to apologize, he must resign.”
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FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Union of BC Indian Chiefs
UBCIC is a NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.