Pickering councillor in attack mode after “racist” Black History Month comments go viral

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Published February 8, 2024 at 10:16 am

pickering councillor lisa robinson controversy black history month

Governments, the media, special interest groups, the mayor and all those who don’t support her politically all fell under the video-taped knife of Pickering Councillor Lisa Robinson, who took to her YouTube channel late Wednesday night to deliver a rebuttal to accusations she was “racist, irresponsible and unethical” in denouncing the celebration of Black History Month.

“Her words have caused concern in this community (and) the sentiments expressed in the opinion piece run counter to the values that we as a Council collectively champion,” Pickering Mayor Kevin Ashe said at Monday’s Executive Committee meeting in response to an op-ed piece she had written in the Oshawa Central newspaper.

Ashe asked Robinson to “reflect” and issue an immediate apology to the community.

“It is disheartening to witness such a display of insensitivity to Blach History Month at a time when we should be celebrating the rich contributions of Afro-Canadians to our community.”

“I am shocked it was released.”

Robinson promised an answer Wednesday and while she cut it close with the timing (it was posted at 11:24 p.m.) she responded with a six-minute diatribe that made it clear no apology was forthcoming.

“The truth, at times, can be uncomfortable and may inadvertently cause hurt or offence to certain individuals. This was never my intention,” she said, adding that “emotional responses” from her words are “way out of my control.”

Robinson called the blowback from her column “personal political posturing” and said the alleged complaints from the community were “handpicked by those who don’t support me politically” and “special interest groups.”

Robinson also hinted at possible illegalities in the complaints, alleging that some came from people who have “reportedly received funds from the Mayor’s Gala.”

“If we cannot have open, honest dialogue … then we must reject any kind of rhetoric from politicians and public figures who claim to speak on behalf of the people.”

Misleading statements like these,” she added, referring to Ashe’s comments about her at committee, “only serve to divide us further.”

The media was also targeted in Robinson’s address, with the councillor calling on journalists to “start upholding their responsibilities to present accurate information” and to stop the “manipulation of words for sensationalism or clickbait.”

“It really is disheartening to witness the decline of journalistic integrity.”

The words used by the media are only used to “fit the narrative,” she said, while trying to paint a picture of her as “regular” folk.

“It is not the narrative of regular working people like you or I.”

More allegations of mysterious kickbacks followed, with Robinson accusing the media of being on the receiving end of “donations from those who hold great power.”

“Such practices should be condemned.”

PIckering Councillor Lisa Robinson

Despite the negative feedback Robinson has received since her op-ed piece was published, she said she has also received plenty of support from her followers. “It is truly heartfelt to see how my words have resonated with so many individuals.”

Robinson, who infamously said she was the victim of “modern slavery” after being suspended without pay twice last year for code of conduct violations, also doubled down on her message that celebrating Black History is not inclusive but instead divisive.

“Everyone in Canada deserves equal treatment,” she said, adding that there should not be “handouts” based on race or sexual preference. “It should be rooted in merit and hard work.”

“To overcome racism and to achieve a society free from racial discrimination it is imperative we move beyond constantly discussing and creating groups around these issues.”

While agreeing “historical injustices should be acknowledged and learned from to avoid past mistakes,” giving different cultures special months is not the way to go about it. “I do not play into the divisive game of calling people by the colour of their skin. I will judge you by whether you are a good person or a bad person.”

“Stop referring to me as a white woman. Call me Lisa.

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