A group of Regina residents have written a complaint letter to the city̵7;s integrity commissioner in response to alleged racist comments made by Ward 7 City Councilor Terina Shaw about indigenous people.
Forty-seven people signed the letter to the integrity commissioner, Angela Crook, asking her to investigate Shaw’s conduct at two city meetings in 2022.
During the January 26 Executive Committee meeting, Shaw made remarks about Indigenous men.
“I’ve worked with indigenous men,” Shaw said. “They have lived in my house. I’ve done this for years…. You talked about how there would be no sexual allegations against him. How can you show the school board that there are no sexual allegations against this person?”
The letter said his comments imply that indigenous men are sexual predators.
On June 15, Shaw made another comment about Indigenous people and homelessness. The letter said Shaw’s remarks uphold the idea that Indigenous peoples are a homogeneous group that share a similar culture and that Indigenous people choose to be homeless and are not interested in building homes.
“I heard it once by an indigenous man from RTSIS,” Shaw said on June 15. “She talked about people from indigenous culture who don’t want to keep homes.”
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Florence Stratton and Susanna Deranger were the two individuals who decided to start the complaint letter. He felt that Shaw’s comments perpetuated racist, colonial stereotypes about indigenous peoples and violated Regina’s code of conduct, in particular:
- 10 (1) Members shall treat every person, including other members, municipal employees and the public, with dignity, understanding and respect.
- 10(2) Members shall not discriminate, threaten, harass or use derogatory language towards others in their roles as members of the Council.
“This is part of a larger process of fighting racism in our city,” said concerned resident and community activist Stratton. “We see it everyday all the time. Everyone should speak up, maybe more white people than anyone else, we need to speak up every time we see racism.”
Deranger, a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, felt the same way about the need for a formal complaint.
Deranger, another concerned resident, said, “All of the city council should stand up for our constituents, making sure we have a good life.” “With comments like this, how does it make a good living?”
Global News contacted Shaw for a response, but did not hear back by the deadline.
Mayor Sandra Masters says the city will have to wait on the integrity commissioner’s word before deciding any next steps.
“Any time statements are made that are not foreseen or their impact and potential harm are not considered, it is troublesome for the Council,” Masters said. “I think we all try to be a little better.”
Stratton says he’s not sure what’s next in the process. She says they are hoping to have Shaw removed from the council. Deranger feels that a person making racist remarks should not hold such a position.
“What it does is it perpetuates stereotypes, it promotes racism,” Deranger said.
However, Masters says Shaw is unlikely to be removed.
“I think Councilor Shaw is a duly elected official in the city of Regina, and we are not in a position to reverse the election,” Masters said.
Shaw has yet to apologize for the comments, although Deranger thinks the apology won’t change anything.
“Even if he was forced into it, what would that tell me?” Deranger said. “No, it’s like crocodile tears.”
If removing Shaw is not an option, Deranger says he hopes the letter will still force change.
“I expect there will be so much pressure on her that she will resign,” he said. The more people we have, the more voice we have, the more likely they are to do something.”
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