A number of “White Lives Matter” signs were put up in North Battleford soon after the Civilian Review and Compliants Commission for the RCMP issued its report on how police treated the family of Colten Boushie after he was killed.
North Battleford is about an hour north of the town of Biggar, Sask., near the farm where Boushie, 22, was shot and killed by farmer Gerald Stanley.
Racial tensions have been an issue since the shooting, but also seem to have plagued the community for generations.
David Gillian, the mayor of North Battleford, said racism can’t be tolerated in the city.
“It’s unfortunate to hear that we are doing a lot to try to erase this sort of behaviour and also to make people feel safe,” he said.
Shanda Ernest lives in the neighbourhood where the signs were put up and say’s she’s more than disappointed with them and the web page that promoted racism.
“White lives matter and it comes right after that report it just doesn’t sit well internally doesn’t feel good and to think about ok this report came out and someone gets the idea to put up these white lives matter posters,” she said.
Ernest said she plans to move her family away because of it.
“I was talking to my husband the other day and we kind of came to an understanding that North Battleford isn’t in our future. I don’t feel like we should be taking our children in this area, considering that people can put things like this around the city,” she said.
Wayne Samaganis, chief of Little Pine First Nation, who’s community is near North Battleford is disappointed that Ernest thinks racism is so bad that she wants to move.
“It doesn’t paint a good picture for our community when we have mothers and fathers wanting to take their children away because they don’t feel safe, they don’t feel like they are accepted in the community, they don’t feel part of it,” said Semaganis.
He said racism is an issue that has been here for a long time, but there is hope.
“This is a problem that has built up through generations it’s not something we can eradicate overnight but I think we are making progress,” he said.
Semaganis and Gillian both sit on the Battlefords Regional Community Coalition a group that focuses on relationship building. Gillian said the posters are being dealt with.
“It’s actually been reported to our local RCMP so they will look into it and see if it meets the definition of hate and if there’s any legal way these people can be dealt with,” said Gillian.