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Amaranth Mayor Bob Currie: “All Lives Matter”

Amaranth Mayor Bob Currie: "All Lives Matter"

Once again, Amaranth’s Mayor Bob Currie felt the need to express his personal views during a council meeting. This time it was with regards to the Black Lives Matter movement.

At a meeting of Dufferin County Council held on February 11th, Warden Darren White proclaimed February to be Black History Month. Alethia O’Hara-Stephenson, President of the Dufferin County Canadian Black Association, was there to accept and provide an update on the recent accomplishments of the organization. Furthermore, Sarah Robinson, Curator of the Museum of Dufferin, made a presentation to council on the Black History Month Exhibit that is currently taking place.

“There are a lot of people, organizations, businesses, government bodies that talk about diversity and inclusion. It’s a popular buzz word. They talk about equity, they talk about diversity is our strength. Oftentimes it’s hard-pressed to see exactly what they’re talking about because it’s not met with any meaningful action” stated Steve Anderson, Shelburne’s Deputy Mayor and member of Dufferin County Council. “What I can say is, with all sincerity and honesty, I sit around the table with individuals that are putting their actions and their resources where their mouth is.”

Shelburne’s Deputy Mayor went on to explain how the support of municipal leadership is not just important to the Black community, but to the racialized community as a whole, and how it “shines a light on Dufferin County,” while finishing with a conveyance of appreciation to “each and every one” of them.

Immediately after Anderson’s remarks, Amaranth’s Mayor Currie notified Warden White that he had a comment. During O’Hara-Stephenson’s delegation, a minor reference was made to the Black Lives Matter marches that had taken place in Orangeville and Shelburne last year. Currie took that as an opportunity to put forth his views for the public record.

Amaranth’s Mayor Bob Currie: “All Lives Matter” – Clip from the Dufferin County Council Meeting held on February 11th, 2020.

“As far as Black History Month goes, I have no problem whatsoever recognizing those people. But the first lady that talked, she talked about Black Lives Matter. Well to me, you’re discriminating against every other colour there is. All Lives Matter!”

Warden White swiftly shut down Currie, bringing the meeting back to order.

“Councillor Currie, I’m not even going to dignify that comment with a remark.”

Currie has landed himself in multiple predicaments as a result of his behaviour during council meetings. In June of 2020, he made national news after making remarks many considered to be hateful and homophobic when detailing why he is not supportive of the Township of Amaranth raising the pride flag. A few months later, a workplace harassment investigation into the township showed that Currie was accused of indulging in the use of racial epithets, in addition to an assortment of other concerns. Amaranth’s Mayor even protested donations to the local food banks during the early days of the pandemic.

After a presentation from the Museum of Dufferin and the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit, Warden White apologized to Anderson and O’Hara-Stephenson on behalf of Dufferin’s council for Currie’s comments.

“We as a society should be striving to create opportunities for all of us to be equal. Walk the same path at the same time. To have the same opportunities. Not seeking to further segment or further disadvantage” asserted White.

Later on in the meeting, Amaranth’s Mayor Bob Currie attempted to clarify his earlier articulations. Warden Darren White pre-emptively attempted to discourage him from proceeding by notifying him that if he is going to continue, staff would be asked to mute him. Currie disregarded the warning.

“I am not a racist person,” affirmed Currie. “All lives matter!”

“Your comment is out of line, out of order, and that’s why I apologized for it,” expounded Warden Darren White. Council then moved into a closed session.

That is not where it ended though. Once back in open session, Warden White told council that he is prepared to take action against “offside comments” moving forward using the authority afforded to him through procedural bylaws. He then directed statements towards Currie.

Dufferin County Council – February 11, 2021 Post Closed Session – Dufferin County YouTube Channel

“If the assertion that you are not a racist is accurate then I suggest that you think about comments before you say them,” said Warden White. “Some of those comments, on the face, the words themselves, may not seem to be racist or hurtful are actually racist and hurtful.”

Currie interrupted before the Warden could finish.

“No they are not! I AM NOT RACIST! Everyone matters, I don’t care what colour you are. We’re all special!”

The Warden reiterated that Currie’s outbursts would no longer be accepted, unless there was a challenge from the floor, before adjourning the meeting.

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