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chess pieces I was saddened and surprised at the comments made by Councillor Scott Greig in response to Councillor Carole Merton’s motion “that the City of Owen Sound will actively work towards anti-racism and anti-oppression.”

In response to Mr. Greig’s question “Where's the body of evidence that there's a problem? Because before one fella in Minneapolis, it was not an issue,” I can assure him that this has been “an issue” for centuries.

It is hard to believe that Mr. Greig is unfamiliar with the history of slavery and racism that laid the foundations for the United States and Canada. Rather than take up space here with a review of that topic, I will leave it to him to familiarise himself with the abundant literature on the transatlantic slave trade. Hopefully the following link can serve as a springboard to the literature https://humanrights.ca/story/the-story-of-slavery-in-canadian-history

To suggest that taking a stance on racism and oppression is the “newest political correct initiative” is the epitome of white privilege. Might I suggest that working to bring an end to racism and oppression through education on diversity and inclusion is the barest minimum that a civilized society should undertake.

At any rate, for the sake of brevity, back to Mr. Greig’s other question: “do you have evidence?” A very brief survey of the Internet revealed the evidence listed below. I should note however, that given that very few cases of racism are ever reported and that as a privileged white man, I am not in a position to provide examples of the types of racism and prejudice people of colour, members of the LGBTQ2S community, and others experience on a daily basis. These include lower wages, higher unemployment, barriers to education, and micro aggressions such as being watched in a store.

April 28, 2020

• A woman in Wiarton shouted at Asian children to “go back to where you belong” and “go home to eat your weird food, go eat your chicken…” followed by offensive chicken noises.


Commencing in the summer of 2019 numerous racist stickers appeared throughout the city. These included:
• “It's okay to be white”
• RaHoWa – Racial Holy War
• 88(a white supremacist numerical code for "Heil Hitler”) and others including “1488,” and “Soldiers of Odin.”

July 2019

• The mosque in Owen Sound was repeatedly vandalized.

April 10, 2018

• Racially disparaging graffiti on an Owen Sound house precipitated a criminal investigation as a hate crime

June 20, 2016

• Contrary to the direction taken by city hall, the Owen Sound Police Department conducted its own official flag-raising ceremony, raising the rainbow flag. Until that time Owen Sound City Council had banned rainbow flags from being raised at city hall for 11 years.

March 17, 2015

• Local MP tells prospective Canadians wanting to wear a niqab at their citizenship ceremony to “stay the hell where you came from.”

August 2, 2008

• A 42-year-old Toronto black man required hospitalization after he was savagely beaten and stabbed by a group of men.

Summer of 1995

• A bag of fish guts and a fish head was thrown on a booth operated by a native woman who was selling fish with her two daughters at the Owen Sound Farmers’ Market
• Two young men from the Cape Croker reserve north of Owen Sound were stabbed in an incident fuelled by racism.

David McLeish
Owen Sound


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