Calgary

Coun. Dan McLean to step back from council committees and boards following racist videos

A Calgary city councillor is stepping back from council committees and boards following a series of videos posted to social media that purport to involve him participating in racist mocking of Indigenous people.

He apologized after videos surfaced of racist mocking of Indigenous people

Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean released a video on Friday showing him standing next to Alice Marchand. McLean apologized after racist videos were posted to social media with a voice purported to be his. (Facebook)

A Calgary city councillor is stepping back from council committees and boards following a series of videos posted to social media that purport to involve him participating in racist mocking of Indigenous people.

Last week, Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean apologized after a series of videos were posted to social media. In those videos, a group of men participate in a racist mocking of Indigenous people. The men are talking to an unnamed person not on camera purported to be McLean.

On Tuesday during a council meeting, McLean said he would give up his committees and boards and sit with a circle of elders to "learn to grow, change and be better." 

He has resigned from the Calgary Stampede board, the council services committee, the annexation negotiations committee for Foothills County, the inter-municipal committee for Foothills County, the intergovernmental affairs committee, the nominations committee and the Silvera for Seniors board. However, he will remain on the infrastructure and planning committee.

McLean has been replaced by Coun. Andre Chabot as the City of Calgary's Grey Cup representative.

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said following the emergence of the videos that she spoke with Indigenous leaders and elders.

"These conversations were sparked by the surfacing of a video last week that was racist and included a member of our city council. I asked for Indigenous perspectives, advice and expectations on our next steps as a council," she said. 

"I was also advised that it is not the mayor's place to speak for the Indigenous community. But it is my responsibility to call out racism and it is the responsibility of our council as well." 

Gondek asked McLean if he would agree to meet with a circle of elders that will be assembled by Rose Crowshoe and Reg Crowshoe. 

"They will ensure that there is representation from First Nation and Métis elders and that there is representation of women in this circle, which means you will hear their truths and their experiences." 

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek said that following the emergence of the videos, she spoke with First Nations and Métis leaders and elders. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The videos that were posted on social media last week by an anonymous account show two individuals who appear to be former Alberta justice minister Jonathan Denis and political strategist Craig Chandler talking to an unnamed and unseen person.

In the videos, the men perform racist caricatures of Indigenous people, at one point playing a mocking role of an Indigenous woman with an invented vulgar last name.

Following McLean's time with the elders, he will report back to a public meeting of council with a path forward on restitution, which must be endorsed by the elders. 

"I do want to take responsibility and demonstrate that I am willing to learn to grow, change and be better. That does start with the circle of elders," McLean said. 

"I want to thank my council mates and the Indigenous community for allowing me this great opportunity, and once I sit with elders, I will have a more informed way of demonstrating my commitment to truth and reconciliation and anti-racism." 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jade Markus

Digital journalist

Jade Markus is a digital journalist at CBC Calgary.

With files from Scott Dippel, Joel Dryden

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