RE: Public Property Rental To Hate Groups: A Blemish On The City's Reputation
Dear Mayor and Councillors,
It is disheartening to see that, once again, the City of Chilliwack is allowing a hate group to host a chapter meeting and event on public property—this time at Salish Park on July 1st.
Action4Canada is a white supremacist hate group that discriminates against a number of different identities of Chilliwack citizens. Their followers regularly dox people and initiate social media hate mail campaigns against those they disagree with. They have a history of using their supporters to attack 2SLGBTQ+ people and allies, calling them groomers and pedophiles. They have a history of mocking and denigrating Truth and Reconciliation efforts in Canada.
This group’s beliefs and actions go against the principles of equality, diversity and inclusivity that our city values and that leadership has worked so hard to create.
Allowing a hate group to host events on City of Chilliwack property tarnishes our city’s reputation—the reputation that community leadership and citizen groups have worked so hard to repair. By renting to a hate group, Council appears to be endorsing their beliefs and actions and is inadvertently supporting the spread of their hateful agenda.
This sends a harmful message to residents and visitors alike, making them feel unwelcome and unsafe in their own community, harming our tourism industry, and reducing the likelihood of individuals wanting to hang their hats here. Moreover, it creates division among citizens and undermines efforts toward building a cohesive society.
CCFC believes the Council should immediately change rental policies or bylaws, to take more responsibility for what gets voiced in our public spaces, and thus show far stronger support for our diverse community by not allowing hate groups access. As we continue to fight against racism and bigotry in our society, it is crucial that our government institutions lead by example and do not provide platforms for hateful rhetoric.
Please respond to the following questions and suggestions so we may better understand the situation as it currently stands:
- Has the City of Chilliwack indeed granted a rental of Salish Park to Action4Canada?
- If so, why have you allowed such a notorious hate group to rent public space?
- If you have allowed the rental, why do you not have policies in place that ensure all public space rentals live up to the espoused inclusivity and diversity values of our municipality?
- If the rental has been allowed, how can we help encourage the council to make policies or bylaw changes that prohibit rentals to organizations with ties to hate groups and hate initiatives? What is the process to achieve reconsideration of the rental standards?
- If this event is not authorized by the city and is an unsanctioned gathering on public city land, can you/will you contact their organizers to tell them they are not welcome and not allowed to use our spaces for this purpose?
- If it is an unsanctioned gathering, will our council issue a public statement to that effect and disavow any association with the group? If the rental was permitted, will you reassure the public that Action4Canada views do not align with City of Chilliwack values? Will you discourage our citizens from attending?
- Will you ensure that the city provides adequate protection at this event against the potential violence that could occur against the marginalized citizens by Chilliwack by Action4Canada members?
Chilliwack is better than this. The vast majority of Chilliwack citizens don’t do not want groups like this to be given space to spread their hate.
Please take action. Please help protect against the spread of hate in Chilliwack by speaking out against Action4Canada and speaking up for our diverse citizens.
We look forward to further information answering the important questions we’ve raised.
Christopher Hunt, Teri Westerby, Lisa Morry, Ian B. Carmichael, Eryne Croquet, Peter Lang, Kim Mallory, and Cody Chance,
Members of the Board
Chilliwack Citizens For Change