People call on Williams Lake mayor to resign over residential school comment


Elders and chiefs are demanding that Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb resign after a post he put up on social media about residential schools.

The post, which has been deleted, said that “There was another side to residential school and that Indigenous people just want to be victims.”

Williams Lake is located in central B.C. about 550 km north of Vancouver.

The chief of Williams Lake First Nation sent an open letter to the council saying, “We can no longer abide the City of Williams Lake, or any of its elected officials, trying to advance a narrative which is a slap in the face to our community, to other First Nations communities, or to the vast majority of Canadians who acknowledge the horror of residential schools and who want to assist with reconciliation.”

At a regular council meeting on Nov. 3, Cobb addressed the issue.

“I never anticipated or make light of the residential schools and for those, I offended I apologize I’m seriously sorry – very, very sorry,” he said.

That apology wasn’t enough for Chief Willie Sellers.

“It’s 2021 Mayor Walt Cobb and times have changed – from when you were a young man and it’s time to change with the times or get out of office its really as simple as that,” says Sellers.

“They want to talk about the other side of the story and how there was positive experience coming out residential schools these are massive triggers for anyone who actually been through a first nations community, lived in a first nations community, and is living with the impacts and the traumas that have been created because of the legacy of those schools.”

Elder Charlene Belleau addressed the mayor at the council meeting.

“We no longer will be silenced today or ever again,” she says. “I demand your resignation effective immediately.”

Cobb says he promises to visit First Nation communities to learn more.

When APTN News asked for an interview from the mayor, he replied “no comment.”

Video Journalist / Vancouver

A proud Métis from BC, Tina began her television career in 1997 as a talent agent for film and TV. She joined APTN National News in 2007 as a Video Journalist in the Vancouver bureau. In 2010, she was the recipient of the Amnesty International Human Rights Journalism Award for her story on murdered and missing women and girls.