Call for Les Armstong to resign as Wilmot Mayor and Waterloo Region Council Member

Call for Les Armstong to resign as Wilmot Mayor and Waterloo Region Council Member

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Les Armstrong, the Mayor of Wilmot Township, and a member of Waterloo Regional council posted a video with the headline "White lives matter. BLM exposed" on his personal Facebook page. Initially, he refused to apologize, saying he posted it to 'start a conversation about racism' (the post has since been removed). After a few days, Armstrong apologized to the township and regional councilors, but not the to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) community, and Armstrong made no formal commitments to concrete action. 

Les Armstrong's lack of foresight and consideration should not be permitted to represent a community that includes all people, including those perpetrated against, and harmed by the video he shared. An apology is not sufficient in light of the number of resources available with which anyone can educate themselves on systemic racism, the Black Lives Matter movement and the violence and injustices against the BIPOC community. The flippancy of his impulse to share a racist and hate inciting video indicates how he sees the world, and calls into question his underlying beliefs, and his ability to critically examine issues of public concern. There is no need for anyone to play the devil’s advocate when it comes to anti-racism work. There is no grey area. You either believe the BIPOC community deserves to feel safe and valued - and like they matter - or you do not.

Sharing a video is a simple action, but Les Armstrong has a voice that is supposed to represent all members of Waterloo Region. On Waterloo Regional Council, and as the Mayor of Wilmot Township there is no room for a representative who lacks enough critical thinking to determine that this video was overtly racist, instead, it exposes his personal views. We need representative and inclusive leadership, and at the bare minimum, we need leadership that does not incite hate.

By signing this petition, I support the Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour in my community, by calling for Les Armstrong to resign as Mayor of Wilmot Township, thus surrendering his seat on Waterloo Regional Council.