Coun­cil­lor de­nies racist com­ment

Suther­land ac­cused of say­ing ‘Johnny Jew’ at a fo­rum

StarMetro Edmonton - - Edmonton - He­len pike metro | Calgary

Ward Suther­land is deny­ing he ut­tered the term “Johnny Jew from New York” at a can­di­date fo­rum on Wed­nes­day night — he in­stead says he was re­fer­ring to Choo, a fa­mous de­signer.

Po­lit­i­cal sci­en­tist Duane Bratt said this isn’t the first time the in­cum­bent has got him­self into hot wa­ter over his ac­tions in pub­lic. He men­tions Suther­land’s stances on pub­lic art and the con­tro­versy when he mimed twist­ing a knife, or tight­en­ing a screw, on coun­cil’s floor.

“We’ll see if it makes a lick of dif­fer­ence,” said Bratt. “It’s not like he’s in a tight race.”

On­line, out­rage flared over the coun­cil­lor’s state­ment where he sug­gested that in 2013 the pub­lic art board was made up of artists who only had a taste for well-known New York artists in­stead of home­grown tal­ent. The is­sue wasn’t with his arts stance, but his per­ceived use of a stereo­typ­i­cal and racist term.

Ur­ban dic­tio­nary defines the phrase “Johnny Jew” as some­one who is cheap, stingy and look­ing to get things for free.

“I en­cour­age any­one with

if i would have said some­thing racist there would have been an im­me­di­ate re­sponse. Ward Suther­land

ques­tions to watch the video of the fo­rum, that is now on­line, or talk to your com­mu­nity mem­bers that were at the fo­rum and heard for them­selves,” wrote Ward in a state­ment.

“As you can see in the video no one made any re­ac­tion af­ter my com­ment — no one at the fo­rum, in­clud­ing the jour­nal­ist who was present at the de­bate seated in the front row, has made ac­cu­sa­tions over my com­ments — if I would have said some­thing racist there would have been an im­me­di­ate re­sponse.”

Ward 1 can­di­date Cam Khan, who was sit­ting next to Suther­land dur­ing the de­bate, said he didn’t clue into what the can­di­date was say­ing be­cause he was con­cen­trat­ing on how he would an­swer the ques­tion.

But Khan said if Suther­land made these com­ments he should re­sign.

“Firstly, I didn’t un­der­stand what he said, but if he said racist com­ments that’s unac­cept­able,” said Khan.

“If he said racist com­ments he should im­me­di­ately re­sign ... he’s not rep­re­sent­ing all com­mu­ni­ties.”

Op­po­nent Coral Bliss Tay­lor said what Suther­land said was very clear, but she didn’t have time to ad­dress it af­ter the fo­rum.

“This is con­sis­tent with what we’ve come to ex­pect from Ward,” said Bliss Tay­lor.

El­iz­a­bEth CamEron/for mEtro

out­rage flared over coun. Ward Suther­land’s per­ceived use of a stereo­typ­i­cal and racist term.

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