A Candian politician is facing backlash after he shared a photo of a car up for auction to benefit the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) on social media. The vehicle in question is Dukes of Hazzard-inspired and features a Confederate flag on the roof.
Despite the controversy and concerns raised by CMHA, the Parkside and District Community Club plan to move forward with the auction this Saturday.
Every yr the Parkside Community Club puts on a demolition derby raising $ to put back into Parkside & surrounding communities
Recently a charity car auction has been added: in 2018 the Lightning McQueen benefitted @STARSambulance & on 7/27 the General Lee will benefit @CMHA_SK pic.twitter.com/9QT4Odj6bI
— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) July 22, 2019
On Monday, Saskatchewan premier Scott Moe shared photos on Twitter of the General Lee-inspired charity car, which will be driven during a demolition derby by the auction winner, in an attempt to highlight the Parkside Community Club's charitable work. Instead, the politician faced instant backlash from social media users who say the Confederate flag is associated with racism and white supremacy.
I just donated to @CMHA_SK yesterday and was proud to support them in their good work. But this is disappointing. I hope CMHA denounces this and the premier should know better than to share such shameful racist imagery.
— Tracey Lynne (@TMitchSK) July 23, 2019
Read the room Mr. Premier. This has long now been recognized as a symbol of hate.
The fact that this tweet hasn’t been deleted or appropriately been responded to speaks volumes.
— Ryan K. Brook 🇨🇦 (@RyanKBrook) July 23, 2019
There are some things that white folk thought were good and funny back in the day that we don’t do anymore. Mr. Premier, you need to be leading the charge against racism. This isn’t leading anyone the right way.
— Mathew (@mathew6cc) July 23, 2019
That’s a hard pass from me Scott. Stop celebrating racist symbols. This is a doozy. It’s been a while since the KKK donated a wing to the Moose Jaw hospital. Let’s keep racism out of health care in Saskatchewan.
— Cheryl Quist (@Cheryl_Quist) July 23, 2019
White supremacy is bad scott. Can't believe I have to tell you this
— Warningshot (@Warreningshot) July 23, 2019
“I shared these photos to support the Parkside Community Club’s longstanding efforts, as well as to support the work of the Canadian Mental Health Association,” the premier said in a statement, according to CTV News. “It was certainly not my intention to offend anyone, or to endorse the Confederate flag and what it symbolizes.”
In turn, Saskatchewan CMHA has distanced themselves from the controversial vehicle, stating that they were not consulted about the fundraising effort and did not have any input into the car design.
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While CMHA_Sk is extremely grateful for the support shown by the Parkside Community Club, we were not consulted about this fundraising effort and had no input in the design of the car. CMHA_Sk would never condone the use of what is now considered a hate symbol.
— CMHA SK (@CMHA_SK) July 23, 2019
"CMHA_Sk would never condone the use of what is now considered a hate symbol," the organization shared on Twitter, adding that they were only made aware of demolition derby event and car design because of Moe's tweet.
"We are actively trying to contact the organizers to discuss our concerns and the concerns of our supporters. Once again we apologize for any offense this has caused and are working towards a solution," CMHA SK tweeted.
Phyllis O’Connor, executive director of the CMHA in Saskatchewan, told The Star: “We rely very heavily on community support and that’s a wonderful thing. The problem was they didn’t come to us and tell us they were doing this and we certainly had no input into the theme. One of our core values is inclusion. There is no room for racism, discrimination, hatred, none of that.”
O'Connor said that she would be able to "live with it" if the reference to CMHA were removed from the trunk of the vehicle before the derby takes place.
“We don’t want to seem ungrateful for the hard work and energy that that little community put into supporting us,” she said. “It came from a good place.”
Premier Moe and CMHA did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.
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