Indigenous veterans president blames 'snowflakes' for move to oust him
Fellow veterans call Richard Blackwolf's Facebook posts 'disgusting'
Richard Blackwolf is blaming a liberal conspiracy and overly sensitive "snowflakes" for the effort to remove him as president of the Canadian Aboriginal Veterans and Serving Members Association.
The Saskatoon organizer of a petition, as well as a growing number of prominent Indigenous veterans, say he needs to step down after he made a number of controversial posts on social media.
His Facebook posts, now deleted, labelled the LGBT community as "mutations and deviations," Muslims as terrorists and pedophiles, and left-wing women as "exponentially" uglier than those on the right.
Blackwolf was reached by CBC News Wednesday.
"We appear to be under attack from a hate group — a liberal hate group," Blackwolf said.
"I guess there's got to be a first time for everything...They call it snowflakes. I don't know. I don't get involved in politics."
He declined to comment further, saying neither he nor the organization makes political comments.
"We're not in that business [of politics], so that's why I don't comment, particularly to CBC because they're just a political organ and we have no respect for that particular tax burden," he said.
Blackwolf, who is in his mid-70s, served in the navy from 1959 to 1972 as a sonar and electronics expert. He spent time in submarines tracking Russian positions during the Cold War. Following his discharge he spent 25 years with the Department of National Defence.
On July 27, in reference to controversy surrounding uniformed police officers attending LGBT Pride parades, Blackwolf wrote on his Facebook page: "A parade of mutations and deviations, there should be no military or law enforcement officers taking part."
On July 9, Blackwolf posted a graphic titled "Let's discuss what Islam offers." Labels under black stick figures included pedophilia, rape, slavery, hostage-taking and burning people alive. "Where to start?...OK Clockwise … Beheading," Blackwolf wrote beneath the graphic.
On July 23, he agreed with another post that postulated right-wing women are better looking.
"The further left you go, the ugly index increases exponentially," Blackwolf wrote.
Beneath his comments, Blackwolf posted a photo of U.S. President Donald Trump's wife, Melania, and their daughter Ivanka as examples of "well-maintained" right-wing women.
'I'm just appalled'
Petition organizer and former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Jesse Donovan, Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association Grand Chief Steven Ross and others have said Blackwolf's Facebook posts were disgusting.
"He can blame whoever he wants. I blame it 100 per cent on him and his mouth," said veteran Randi Gage.
"I'm just appalled, disgusted and embarrassed. I can't comprehend this man's ignorance."
Gage, who lives in Winnipeg, and other veterans founded the organization Blackwolf leads 25 years ago.
She said he has disgraced his uniform and should resign. If he doesn't, she said his board should remove him for failing to live up to its code of conduct.
Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association Grand Chief Steven Ross said the comments go against everything veterans represent.
"It's totally disgusting. It's unacceptable for a veteran to speak in that manner, especially a First Nations veteran," Ross told CBC News in a telephone interview from his home on the Montreal Lake Cree Nation, approximately 250 kilometres north of Saskatoon.
Ross said Indigenous veterans have fought inequality abroad and at home for decades.
"In the armed forces, we are all equal. As veterans, we should all be equal," Ross said.
"We're trying to reach out to other groups — to everyone — to work together, to understand each other. We have to keep up that friendship, that unity."
Support for petition
Donovan said Wednesday he's received a lot of support from veterans, serving military members and other Indigenous people since he started the petition. In 48 hours, the petition has received 93 signatures out of the stated goal of 100.
On Donovan's Facebook page, veterans and others offer support for his efforts.
"You have my full support. Where can we find the petition link?" one wrote.
"This needs to stop immediately...Our ancestors welcomed all that [were] suffering," said another.
Veterans Affairs Canada official Nick Wells said in an emailed statement that the federal government commends Blackwolf for his military service and his efforts on behalf of veterans.
"We cannot, however, support or stand behind the public comments he made which lacked respect for his fellow Canadians," Wells said.
"His public remarks do not reflect the views of the Government of Canada, nor Canadians."
With files from the CBC's Bonnie Allen