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Niagara chair apologizes for alleged ‘racist’ language used in post by regional mayor

The mayor of West Lincoln, Ont., Dave Bylsma is the subject of another apology issued by Niagara's regional chair for language used in a help-wanted post. westlincoln.ca

The mayor of West Lincoln, Ont., is the subject of another apology from Niagara’s regional chair for language used in a help-wanted post last week.

Jim Bradley said in a statement on Thursday, he was “saddened and disappointed” once again for having to address a matter involving mayor and regional councillor Dave Bylsma who allegedly used the term “purebloods” in a Telegram message.

As reported by the St. Catharines Standard, the post Byslma wrote said “Looking for employee. Vineland. Woodworking business 20$ to start but rises with experience. Current staff are all purebloods.”

The post has since been removed from the social media platform.

Read more: Niagara Region mayor docked pay for ‘inappropriate’ message to female constituent

“While he may not have meant the statement in this context, the councillor’s use of language that has been closely tied to racist beliefs, even if taken out of that context, is unacceptable and troubling,” Bradley said.

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“I want to be absolutely clear that Niagara Regional Council does not share Coun. Bylsma’s views, nor would the majority of councillors find the use of language with such a racially-charged legacy to be suitable.”

The chair said he didn’t want overtones that appear to show “support for rejecting COVID-19 vaccinations” to be misconstrued as a council viewpoint.

He went on to say that those holding public office should be more careful when choosing their words, considering their “office, position and influence.”

“Along with Premier Ford, I also want residents to know that Regional Council believes in both the efficacy and safety of the available COVID-19 vaccines,” remarked Bradley.

In an e-mail to Global News, Bylsma didn’t directly respond to Bradley’s apology, only the circumstances around the search for a worker.

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“I will say that the post generated many fine applicants in an environment where so many businesses are searching for help,” the mayor said.

“All applicants were discriminated against by previous employers for being unvaccinated.”

Read more: West Lincoln mayor removed from emergency ops post amid investigation into COVID-19 protest

In October, Bylsma was docked seven days pay after councillors voted in favour of the punishment in connection with an ‘inappropriate’ message sent to a constituent in May.

The mayor allegedly asked a Niagara woman if she had her period following a COVID-19 vaccination.

The sanction comes months after local interim integrity commissioner Michael Maynard recommended the reprimand, suggesting Byslma’s text reply was “arguably insulting” and “irresponsible.”

Bylsma questioned Maynard’s report and said it “admits in its analysis a failure to suggest any clear violation of the code” and that no similar situations have ever been cited as a basis for the decision.

The mayor also lost his seat on the city’s emergency operations centre after council removed him from the position in April.

 

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