'Get out of Canada': Vancouver city councillor shares racist email

Mar 7 2019, 11:27 pm

A Vancouver City councillor has tweeted part of an email he received from someone who, apparently not content to focus on the issue that was bothering them, took aim at the councillor’s background as well.

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The email was directed at Green Party councillor, Pete Fry.

The tweet reportedly came after a meeting in which Fry proposed the idea of exploring rental-only zoning along West Broadway.

Fry, who voted in support of SkyTrain technology, prepared a motion outlining an “Emergency Interim Zoning” that creates a temporary moratorium on new rezoning applications throughout much of the Kitsilano and Point Grey neighbourhoods, along the potential future tunnelled SkyTrain route west of Arbutus Street.

Fry told Daily Hive that he didn’t post the tweet with the expectation of it becoming a story, but rather, it was “a matter of kind of brushing it off and getting it out out of my head.”

Fry said he was able to Google and find the person who sent him the email, but decided not to publicly share the senders name after realizing “he was an older guy, from a different generation who likely didn’t even consider that he might be searchable on Google.”

Although he “had the power” to oust the guy and publish his name, Fry ultimately decided not to.

“It’s not about cutting him slack, it’s more about showing a little bit of mercy because I honestly don’t think he knows any better,” he said. “I was angry when I got the email, largely because it targeted my mom as well.”

Fry said tweeting the incident was cathartic and helped him let go of the whole situation. “I certainly don’t want it to be misinterpreted in any way as me playing the victim card, because it really wasn’t about that; it was really more about just letting it go.”

Still, he’s glad it has sparked a larger conversation.

“To be totally honest, I think people are largely oblivious to the nature of racism in our city,” he said. “Certainly in my generation, when I was younger, it was a lot more prevalent, and I know it’s changing.”

And while there’s still a long ways to go, Fry said it’s about “making space” for these types of conversations, “and that does come with time and a shift in attitude.”

Fry said in recent years, there has been “difficult conversations” about immigration and “what that means in the context of the cost of housing and land in our city, and that’s really exacerbated these underlying tensions that we can’t ignore and that’s a conversation that we need to have.”

While “simmering racism” might be a minority, Fry said, “it does exist and it does happen.”

He noted that “one angry email” from an older resident is “pretty innocuous in the context of some of the actual in-your-face racism that happens in this city, and that’s a lot more scary and more important to talk about.”