Posted on Mar 19, 2021
NDP WILL CALL ON LEGISLATURE TO DENOUNCE SYMBOLS REPRESENTING RACISM AND HATE IN ALBERTA
EDMONTON - Alberta NDP Edmonton-South MLA and Infrastructure Critic Thomas Dang will ask to move a Private Members Motion in the Legislature on Monday to urge the UCP to denounce hateful and racist symbols in Alberta. He is calling on the UCP Government to commit to developing legislation that would outlaw such symbols in public spaces.
Last month, at rallies in Calgary and Edmonton, participants lit tiki torches and marched in the streets. These torches are a longstanding symbol of hate among white supremacists. The Alberta rallies used images from a white supremacist torch rally in 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia, to promote the event.
Earlier this week, an unknown individual replaced a Canadian flag with a Confederate flag — a known symbol utilized by white supremacists — at a cemetery in Calgary.
“These groups with tiki torches, these individuals brandishing Confederate flags are deliberately attempting to spread hate and racism in our communities,” Dang said. “This is wrong. We have heard overwhelmingly from Albertans that there is no place for hate in our community.”
“As well, the public comments from the Premier and members of his Caucus have done little to satisfy the concerns of so many who no longer feel safe in their communities. The Premier has done little to condemn the five hate attacks on members of Edmonton’s Somali community. This motion gives the Premier and every other member of the Legislature a clear opportunity to stand against racism and Islamophobia, and to pledge to take action against hate.”
Dang said he hoped the motion would be approved and then act as a catalyst to develop legislation against hate crimes and hate symbols in Alberta. The Government of British Columbia is in the early stages of developing its own legislation in this regard.
“People should not be allowed to wave torches in the streets, to march with Confederate flags,” Dang said. “Our society should be welcoming and inclusive. I would be very keen, as would my colleagues in the NDP Caucus, to work directly with the UCP Government on developing legislation against hate symbols.”
Following discussions with the National Council of Canadian Muslims in light of multiple attacks on Black Muslim women in Edmonton, NDP Leader Rachel Notley wrote to Premier Jason Kenney requesting the establishment of a bi-partisan committee to develop anti-racism legislation and policies. A response from the Premier ignored that request.
Dang said he’s also deeply concerned about the rise in racism towards Asian Canadians and Americans in the wake of a devastating mass shooting in Atlanta.
“With all that we have seen happen, it seems like this is clearly an appropriate time for us to stand in the Legislature against hate, against racism, against hate crimes,” Dang said.
The formal Private Members Motion being moved by MLA Dang reads as follows:
Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly urge the Government to denounce the
display and use of all symbols and insignia associated with racism and hate speech
in all public spaces and further denounce all demonstrations, marches and rallies
meant to terrorize and promote racism, including recent rallies held in Alberta during
which some attendees carried symbols associated with racism, such as tiki torches."