STATEMENT FROM MAYOR BRIAN BOWMAN IN RESPONSE TO COMMENTS MADE AND POSITIONS TAKEN EARLIER IN WEEK BY COUNCILLOR JEFF BROWATY

Earlier today, I met with Councillor Browaty to discuss the comments he made during this week’s Council meeting as well as his decision to vote against the Public Service’s recommendation for Council to receive, simply as information, a report about the City’s reconciliation efforts.

British Columbia Grand Chief Stewart Philip said it well: ‘Reconciliation is not for wimps.’ He is right. It’s hard, it takes courage, and I believe our collective efforts are required to reconcile the relationship between Indigenous peoples and Canadian society.

I feel strongly the City, and government overall, has an important leadership role to play in responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and undertaking reconciliation efforts, and I conveyed my disappointment in Councillor Browaty’s opposition to educating civic employees about the history and impact of residential schools.

I have received calls and emails from many individuals regarding the words used and position taken by Councillor Browaty and the detrimental impact it will have on the progress we are making toward reconciliation.

I have also had an opportunity to meet with and hear directly from members of my Indigenous Advisory Circle (MIAC). Many have questioned whether Councillor Browaty’s views are in keeping with the philosophy of the Winnipeg Police Service, and whether he should continue to serve as the Chair of its board.

I have accepted the public apology made by Councillor Browaty earlier this week. However, MIAC has recommended that Councillor Browaty meet with MIAC elders to discuss the impact his words have had on reconciliation efforts and the community. As well, MIAC has recommended further education in addition to the training already committed to by Councillor Browaty.

I encouraged Councillor Browaty to accept the recommendations made by MIAC. More importantly, I also recommended that he identify and undertake whatever steps he feels necessary, as Police Board Chair and a civic leader, to demonstrate his desire to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of reconciliation.

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