A parade float depicting a Sikh man riding a manure spreader called “The Liberal” is sparking outrage on social media.
The controversial float took part in Saturday’s Sundre Pro Rodeo parade. Didsbury resident, Mike Crampton was at the parade with his family when he took the photos of the float.
“My wife pointed it out to me and I was just sort of a bit shocked and quickly grabbed a couple of photos just because I wasn’t quite sure what I was seeing,” said Crampton.
Crampton described what he saw as a low point.
“It’s just so frustrating that people think that that’s an okay thing to do, you know,” he said. “It’s like this normalized casual racism that they just roll out and think that it’s a fine thing to put in front of a community event.”
The images have since gone viral and are sparking outrage on Twitter and Facebook among local leaders.
Anila Lee Yuen, the CEO of the Centre of Newcomers, tweeted that the float was “outrageous…this is why we as people of colour, Albertans have to keep defending our decisions to live in the province.”
Calgary Forest Lawn Conservative MP Jasrai Hallan condemned the float on Twitter, calling it “absolutely disgusting,” adding “these acts have no place in Canada.”
Liberal MP for Calgary Skyview George Chahal called shame on those responsible. Chahal — who is Sikh — says the float is a blatant attack on his people and their community.
“As Canadians and Albertans, we should be concerned about what we saw on display yesterday that people think it’s alright to target my community and racialized communities.”
In a Facebook post, the Sundre Pro Rodeo, which doesn’t oversee floats for the parade, issued a statement apologizing noting that “If we knew about the float, we would have never approved it.”
“We do send our deepest apologies and something like that will never happen again,” the statement read.
According to a statement posted on behalf of the parade committee that oversees the event, the Sundre Pro Rodeo Parade is meant to be a community celebration, showcasing a “positive family experience.”
The statement says an investigation was conducted and found the float “joined the parade without passing through any registration. To be clear, it was not approved.”
Chahal said he plans to visit Sundre in the coming days.