THUNDER BAY – Following the comments by Thunder Bay Mayor Bill Mauro about Senator Murray Sinclair and Gerry McNeilly at a town hall meeting earlier this month, Vincent Simon has resigned from the Respect, inclusion and diversity advisory committee formerly called the Anti Racism Committee.
Vincent Simon who is a ten-year member of the committee has resigned.
Simon says he has resigned because of the comments from the Mayor. Mayor Bill Mauro said, “We all need to stand up for ourselves and we need to tell these guys what they’re doing, what they’re saying, what they’re reporting, to try and make us look like some anomaly across the country is absurd and it’s ridiculous.”
The Mayor was referring to the reports on the Thunder Bay Police Service and the Thunder Bay Police Services Board which found evidence of systemic racism in both organizations.
While the Police Services Board made a public apology over the issues of systemic racism, Mayor Mauro who as a member of the board didn’t attend that event.
The Mayor has remained steadfast in his views that the City of Thunder Bay is being unfairly targetted by the national media.
Committee chair Jason Veltri in a written statement says, “The Anti-Racism & Respect Advisory Committee’s priority is making the City of Thunder Bay a place where people of all backgrounds feel welcomed, safe, and included. Our committee is comprised largely of community members and volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds who bring valued insight and concerns. We are proud to say that as a committee we have been involved in initiatives like the Respect campaign, the 211- reporting line, and the ‘One City, Many voices’ monthly column in the Chronicle Journal.
“While we have had many successes, we do also acknowledge there is a lot more work to do. As a committee, we recognize that current times in Thunder Bay are challenging. We do recognize that Thunder Bay has specific challenges that need to be addressed. Our committee is committed to healing the relationship between Indigenous people and City Hall. Earlier this year we reached out to many Indigenous organizations across the city to invite them to sit on the committee to ensure we had appropriate representation around our table. We have been very successful in bringing in many new committee members, largely those who identify as Indigenous.
“We have also reached out to Mayor Mauro to express some of the concerns expressed by Mr. Simon and other members of the City. We are committed to working with Mr. Mauro further and providing any assistance to him that we can.
“Additionally, we appreciate all of the valuable insight and experience that Mr. Simon has provided to the committee over the years. We wish him well in his future endeavours.”
NetNewsLedger has reached out to Mayor Mauro for comment.