Former Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart is responding to hateful replies to a tweet he posted about the East Hastings decampment earlier this week.
In a tweet on Friday morning, Stewart wrote, “Thank you to all who opposed the Hastings Street police-led clearance catastrophe.”
This followed a tweet he initially put out on Wednesday, calling out the City’s decampment efforts in the Downtown Eastside, suggesting that the move abandoned “attempts to reconcile with Indigenous people and resume traditional genocidal practices.”
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The initial tweet from Stewart received over 350 likes but received nearly 900 comments.
Many quickly criticized Stewart, with some suggesting he was engaging in “shameless political spin.”
The follow-up tweet from Stewart on Friday stated that “Vancouver is losing its humanity” and suggested that the people who responded to the initial tweet with “hateful replies” should “buy folks in need a warm coffee if you are Downtown this Easter weekend.”
Thank you to all who opposed the Hastings Street police-led clearance catastrophe. The many hateful replies to the below tweet makes me fear Vancouver is losing its humanity. Maybe offer to buy folks in need a warm coffee if you are Downtown this Easter weekend. https://t.co/LY88IoMssh
— Kennedy Stewart (@kennedystewart) April 7, 2023
The latest tweet has already begun to rile some Twitter users up, with one person suggesting that Stewart is “gaslighting.”
Please stop gaslighting. That must end. Most replies are people scared and tired of governments doing nothing. Most of us that supported the removal of the dangerous encampments feel for those people and want them to get help and get better. We just have a different view than you
— Mike (@dbpbd15) April 7, 2023
Others suggested that Stewart was “out of touch.”
Until this week, Stewart has mostly strayed away from the political limelight on social media, using the platform to talk about some of his other projects, including a book about decriminalizing drugs that also received backlash.