Thursday, July 25, 2024

Canadians across the country call for resignation of Victoria city councillor


Victoria city councillor Susan Kim is coming under mass scrutiny for co-signing an open letter to Canada’s parliament.

The letter calls on Canada’s politicians to insist upon a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict, but the messaging of the letter is controversial. 

The main thing that has Jewish communities and many others throughout Victoria and the rest of the country upset is a criticism of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s response to the conflict.

The letter insinuates that Singh “repeated the unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence.”

Many are saying that calling the accusations “unverified” is untrue and extremely harmful to the lived experiences for all victims of sexual assault. 

According to an article in The Times of Israel, Israeli police, they have numerous testimonials and hours of footage relating to sexual assaults that occurred on October 7th, but in most cases, rape kits were not able to be administered. 

The other politician who co-signed this letter, an independent Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP), Sarah Jama, has since been removed from the Ontario NDP for doing so. 

Following Jama’s censure, a petition has been launched, calling for Councillor Kim’s immediate resignation and in just a few short days, over 8,300 people have signed. 

The petition was launched by unsuccessful Victoria city councillor candidate, Janice Williams. 

“Imagine being a Jewish member of our community and having to rely on Ms. Kim as an elected representative,” Williams wrote in the petition write-up.  

“Would you feel you could bring your concerns forward to Ms. Kim and be free from prejudice? Would you feel as though she’d represent your interest, equally to the interests of others in our community? Would you be able to trust Ms. Kim?” she asked. 

Williams has also tweeted that, should Kim resign, she will not run in the by-election to replace the councillor because she was the one who launched the petition. 

Furthermore, Williams wrote in the petition that, “Victoria City Council should forbid Ms. Kim from wearing a Keffiyeh in chambers, just as they would forbid any other member from engaging in a ‘display of hate’ during council business.”

However, a Keffiyeh is a Middle Eastern scarf-like article of clothing that is worn out of practicality in many arid regions throughout the world. 

Following this letter coming to light, Kim has deleted her X account (formerly Twitter) and has not made a public statement regarding her intent on co-signing her name.

A ‘Special Council’ meeting has been called by Victoria’s city council for 9 a.m. The agenda for this session has not been made public by the City.

The open letter has also resulted in the University of Alberta Sexual Assault Centre’s director, Samantha Pearson being fired from her position because she signed it. 

As of the afternoon of November 20th, the open letter has been removed from the original source.

Curtis Blandy

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