David Arnot made the comments while addressing a crowd at Saskatoon city hall to mark the beginning of Cultural Diversity and Race Relations Month.
The ceremony included representatives from the City of Saskatoon, the Office of the Treaty Commissioner and Reconciliation Saskatoon.
Cultural diversity and race relations, along with reconciliation and social cohesion are “as important as ever,” Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark told the gathering.
Clark acknowledged racist online comments surfaced following the Stanley trial and the acquittal of Raymond Cormier in the death of Manitoba teen Tina Fontaine.
“There are these forces that are creating this anxiety, this polarization – the racism that we see that is effecting social cohesion in our community,” Clark said.
Following the presentation, newcomers from the Saskatoon Open Door Society joined the mayor for a flag raising in the city’s civic square.
The city will hand out its Living in Harmony Recognition Awards at a ceremony on March 21.