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‘I’m Talking Out:’ Calgary Firefighters Allege Many years of Racism

However many years of migration have remodeled the social cloth and politics of Calgary, Alberta’s greatest metropolis, which elected a Muslim mayor greater than a decade in the past. At the moment, about one-third of town’s residents are Black, individuals of shade, or Indigenous, in line with Metropolis Corridor.

Mr. Coy mentioned tensions between the outdated and new Alberta had boiled over into racism on the fireplace division, Canada’s third-largest, the place, he mentioned, a tradition of nepotism nonetheless held sway.

This summer season, after hundreds of antiracism protesters took to the streets of Calgary, town held three days of public hearings on the difficulty of native systemic racism.

Amongst these testifying was Shannon Pennington, a veteran firefighter. He described an episode a couple of decade in the past, when a big pink panther stuffed toy was smeared with black shoe polish on its face and fingers, and hung with a rope round its neck from the rafters of Calgary’s Fireplace Station 5. The toy was carrying a uniform belonging to a Black firefighter.

“It was a mock lynching,” mentioned Mr. Coy, who mentioned he recommended the Black firefighter. “I used to be outraged however the sufferer didn’t need to do something as a result of he feared a backlash.” The alleged sufferer didn’t return cellphone calls.

Elder Doreen Spence, 83, an Indigenous nurse who counsels minority firefighters, additionally testified concerning the case of Barry Dawson, an Indigenous firefighter, who rose to the rank of captain and who took his personal life in November 2017, at age 47. Ms. Spence, who had dinner with Mr. Dawson the evening earlier than he died, mentioned in an interview that he had instructed her about being bullied repeatedly about his hair, which he wore lengthy to honor his tradition.

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