Peachland mayor Cindy Fortin stands behind Summerland mayor Toni Boot after the latter came under fire for ripping up Confederate flag-print bandanas sold at a Summerland dollar store.
Boot destroyed the bandanas on July 18, a day after a parade was held in support of a local family whose home was spray-painted with vulgar and racist images. During the parade, an individual was seen waving around a Confederate flag, which he said he bought at Summerland’s Your Dollar Store and More.
The store owner gave the bandanas to Boot and two of her friends free of charge, which she then took outside and cut up. The event has since caused a stir in the community, with some supporting the mayor’s actions and others criticizing her.
During the Monday night (July 27) council meeting, Mayor Fortin voiced her support for Boot.
“I just wanted to express my support for Mayor Toni Boot for taking a stand against the sale of the racist Confederate flag in your beautiful community of Summerland where they don’t belong. Some people may not like the message used, but you need to think past that and understand why she did it,” she said.
“The Confederate flag is a stark symbol of hate, racism, slavery, hangings, shootings, and beatings of innocent people of colour and it is a proud emblem of white supremacy… most of us don’t know what it’s like to grow up as a person of colour and what she and others had to endure.”
She added that there is no place for symbols of hate in Summerland, in B.C., in Canada, or beyond.
“Racism not only impacts individuals, and the Lekhi family, but the entire community and I ask that Mayor Boot not be penalized for standing up against racism. Instead, she should be commended.”
A Summerland resident also spoke at the meeting, saying she wasn’t impressed with the mayor’s behaviour.
”I feel (the dollar store owners) were subjected to treatment by the mayor that was not only humiliating, but also discouraging. And while selling the Confederate flag is not illegal in Canada, it is a part of American history and removing statues and destroying flags or Confederate bandanas will not alter or erase history. It should not be about Black Lives Matter, it’s about All Lives Matter,” she said.
“To clarify, this is about the mayor’s behaviour. I was not impressed with how the mayor treated the Carters. While bullying by anyone, and that means intimidation, is not acceptable behaviour, it is more deplorable when it comes from a person in a position of authority. I think the Carters are owed a public apology.”