A Calgary councillor is denying any knowledge of being in a video showing individuals engaging in racist stereotypes and mocking.
Videos circulating on social media show a group of men sitting around a table, using vulgarities, mocking an Indigenous person and the pronunciation of Indigenous last names.
Some believe one voice in the videos was that of Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean, but his image is not shown with the voice.
In a text message to Global News, McLean denied any knowledge of the event.
“I saw the video and I can honestly tell you I have zero recollection of that event,” McLean wrote.
A photo posted by an anonymous Twitter account appears to show McLean sitting at a table with former justice minister Jonathan Denis and political strategist Craig Chandler. In the most recent municipal election, Chandler sought a seat on city council.
Global News has been unable to verify the authenticity of the pictures or the videos, or when they were taken.
Denis’ law office told Global News it has evidence the videos are being doctored and they have engaged police.
Chandler did not respond to requests for comment from Global News.
Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner called the video “deeply disappointing” and urged McLean to apologize while the matter is still current.
Penner said she and her fellow council members took training around Indigenous culture and the city’s Truth and Reconciliation efforts. City councillors have ready access to an Indigenous relations officer and recently took a trip to meet with officials in the nearby Siksika Nation.
“There is a responsibility for all of us to hold each other to the highest standards and to be talking about each other’s behaviour in a way that is appropriate, and that is conducive towards setting a good example for the public,” Penner said.
Lori Williams, a political scientist at Mount Royal University, said with the Tsuut’ina Nation bordering Ward 13, intergovernmental, intercultural and neighbourly relations are important, especially as an elected representative.
“This could be an opportunity for an elected official to actually promote better relations, address some of the inequities and injustices that exist within this city, work toward more positive relations, and equality and diversity,” Williams said. “The problem is, it looks as though this (unconfirmed) video devalues, mocks and demeans people who are racialized.
“And it goes against the very spirit of democracy.”
City councillors have a code of conduct, but Penner noted that if the video predates McLean’s time on council, it may fall outside of the integrity commissioner’s authority.
“I would encourage individuals, if they’re concerned about it, to make a complaint to the integrity commissioner,” Penner said.
–with files from Adam MacVicar, Global News