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Mayor Scott statement on commitment to inclusion, diversity & equality

(Fort McMurray, AB – June 9, 2020) – Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Mayor Don Scott has provided the following statement related to the RMWB’s commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality. 

“At today’s Council meeting, I was honoured to issue proclamations and speak to the importance of Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Pride Week, and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Over the last few weeks racial discrimination and inequality has been front of mind – not just in the United States but in communities across Canada and beyond. This includes right here at home. 

I am incredibly proud of Wood Buffalo’s diversity. We live together on Treaty 8 and traditional Métis territory. As a community we believe in inclusivity, equality, respect and human rights for everyone. From the rich history of Indigenous people to the many new families arriving from other countries for a better life, our arms are open. We also must speak up and take action to foster this way of thinking and living – good people have a responsibility to act.

It is clear there persists a completely unacceptable ignorance in communities everywhere. Unfortunately, it also exists here in our region. As I said at the Solidarity March last Saturday, I see racism every week. Members of my family have witnessed and experienced it first-hand. I say this not to take away from my own privilege but because personal experience is just one way that I know things must change for the better.

We must work together and end the systemic discrimination and inequality that exists around us. As Mayor, I condemn this behaviour and am committed to supporting initiatives that will help create a more inclusive region and right the wrongs of the past. Of course, it starts by listening and learning. 

I also know my fellow Council colleagues feel the same the way including Councillor Krista Balsom’s notice of motion issued at today’s Council meeting about anti-racism and inclusivity which will debated at the next Council meeting.

I would like to reiterate the support of the Regional Advisory Committee on Inclusion, Diversity and Equality (RACIDE). This Council-appointed committee has done a tremendous amount of positive work over the years to raise awareness and drive change on important issues like equality, racial justice, and inclusivity. I want to thank them for their continued involvement in this work and for their tireless efforts alongside residents and members of municipal staff that share the same goals.

I want to also express my thanks to the organizers of the Solidarity March. The event brought together people from all walks of life and I am hopeful that it is an important point of self-reflection for all of us – especially those of us that have had more advantages than others.

I am also aware of the news involving Chief Allan Adam and the RCMP. Like many of you, I am deeply concerned about what I have read and heard, and it is something we must take very seriously. While I cannot speak to the specifics of an ongoing investigation, I believe that everyone in our community deserves to be treated fairly, equally and with respect.  

It has been a difficult, and even uncomfortable, few days in the region, and recent events around the world remind us there is much more work to be done in making positive change happen in a meaningful way – including right here at home.”

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