File image of Mayor Ashe (left) and Councillor Robinson

‘Modern Day Slave’ comment wildly offensive: Mayor Ashe

Pickering Mayor Ashe has termed Councillor Lisa Robinson’s “Modern-Day Slave” comments as “both wildly offensive and deeply harmful”.

“I would like to address the recent comments by Councillor Robinson, made on her social media and during media interviews, where she referred to herself as a “modern-day slave,” he said in a statement issued on Friday.

Councillor Robinson was investigated by the City of Pickering’s Integrity Commissioner for breaching the Council Code of Conduct. Specifically, her use of cyberbullying and intimidation tactics on residents was found to violate ethical standards. Pickering Council subsequently adopted the Integrity Commissioner’s findings and recommendations, which included suspending Councillor Robinson’s pay for 30 days.

“Councillor Robinson’s recent comments are both wildly offensive and deeply harmful. Referencing the system of slavery as a point of comparison carries a violent undertone. Slavery, a dark chapter in our history, brutally denied the humanity of generations of Black communities, subjecting them to unimaginable suffering and injustice. To use such a comparison is fundamentally wrong, and also diminishes the generational trauma caused by slavery,” said Mayor Ashe.

Black community outraged

“I have personally spoken with the longest-serving member of the Pickering Anti-Black Racism Taskforce about the situation, and she was shocked and upset by Councillor Robinson’s statements. In addition, many members of the Black community have publicly expressed their outrage. This highlights the gravity of the situation and the damaging impact it has had,” he said.

The mayor said the City of Pickering is committed to fostering an inclusive, respectful, and compassionate community. We recognize the power of language to shape our perceptions and attitudes, and emphasize the importance of using words mindfully. It is crucial that we treat each other with respect, sensitivity, and an understanding of the historical context that informs our language choices. Clearly, Councillor Robinson has failed in this regard.

“Councillor Robinson’s suspension of pay is a direct consequence of her own actions and decision-making. It reflects the necessity of upholding the integrity of our council and maintaining our ethical standards. We strongly urge her to take responsibility for her actions, refrain from using false and harmful comparisons, and sincerely apologize to the Black community for the hurt and offence she has caused,” the mayor added.

[Above file image of Mayor Ashe (left) and Councillor Robinson]

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