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Aug. 5, 2020 | Wednesday
Editorials and Opinions
Editorial: Words, actions and racism
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It is unfortunate that Coun. Stuart McCormack waited a week to explain why he refused to sign a letter condemning racism that was issued by other members of Niagara-on-the-Lake council and senior members of the administration.

We're not sure if McCormack ever would have opted to explain his position had The Lake Report not asked him, repeatedly, to say why.

The letter, which came only days after an anti-racism rally and march in downtown NOTL, was an attempt to acknowledge problems and shortcomings, and the desire to do better.

To McCormack's credit, on Monday night he told fellow councillors that he chose not to go along with their declaration because "merely expressing disapproval is inadequate."  In effect, words are not enough. Action speaks much louder. 

(Though, interestingly, he also opens his statement about his decision by noting that all Ontario lawyers must file an annual declaration stating they "honour the obligation not to discriminate." That sounds an awful lot like what his fellow councillors were saying in the letter they signed.)

Also to his credit, McCormack proposed the town utilize the expertise of its Inclusivity Committee to air its members' concerns during a workshop for council and town staff.

He also asked for what amounts to a staffing audit to find out how diverse the municipal staff is and how the town might improve its level of diversity.

Those are both good and laudable suggestions, but really, should a desire to see such actions have precluded the councillor from signing the letter along with his fellow councillors? We think not.

His decision left him open to "vitriolic messages" on social media, unfortunately, while doing little to really advance the cause for understanding and acceptance.

Both the letter and the actions suggested by McCormack are really just starting points for what needs to be a long, hard look at life in Canada's self-proclaimed prettiest town.

Yes, actions are important. Words are too.

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