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Wilmot Township council discusses recent controversies at closed meeting
KITCHENER -- Two emergency closed council meetings have been called by the Township of Wilmot to discuss controversies of the past week.
While members of the media and the public could not attend the Monday morning meeting, the agenda makes clear that recent events were the topics of discussion.
These topics include the mayor’s apology for a “White Lives Matter” Facebook post, as well as the controversy surrounding the Sir John A. Macdonald statue in Baden.
"There's bee a lot of turmoil and a lot of hurt feelings in our community," said Ward Four councillor Jennifer Pfenning. "We as a council need to find a way forward that can bring people together and navigate the turmoil with grace and respect."
The agenda says no decisions will be made by council at the Monday meeting, or the next closed meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
Renewed calls to remove Sir John A. Macdonald statue
The statue of Sir John A. Macdonald on the Prime Ministers Path was first covered in red paint on June 21 to bring to attention the role of Canada’s first prime minister in establishing the residential school system.
Citizens and the township cleaned it off, but by Tuesday more paint was put on it.
The statue was then covered up with a tarp, but soon removed when the township released a statement saying they would no longer be cleaning it. This is meant as a sign that they are listening to the community as they decide the future of the statue and the project.
Some residents of Baden and others identifying as part of the Urban Infidels Street Patrol in Kitchener have taken it upon themselves to clean the statue.
A group calling for the statue’s removal has held two demonstrations and says it will continue to do so until it is removed.
Repost from mayor sparks calls for his resignation
As the Sir John A. Macdonald statue saga unfolded, many were calling for Wilmot Township Mayor Les Armstrong to resign after he reposted a video to Facebook that included the title “White Lives Matter.”
The video featured two black men claiming the Black Lives Matter movement is a scam.
Armstrong said he posted it to start a discussion, but on Wednesday night he issued an apology at regional council.
He repeated this apology at a special council meeting in Wilmot on Friday, where multiple delegations called for his resignation.
Armstrong has said he would not resign, but will try to make amends to those who have been hurt.