Markham City Councillors to Apologize for Disrespecting Victims of Human Rights Abuse

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The City of Markham, Ontario, Canada has a flag raising policy which allows flags of foreign nations, including those with a proven track record of human rights abuse, to fly on municipal properties. Many Canadian citizens and Markham residents have suffered abuses under these regimes and settled in Canada to put their scars behind in search of a better life. Witnessing these flags being raised in our city remind them of their sufferings.

In a Council meeting held on February 11th, 2020 to debate whether this practice should continue, Councillor Joe Li warned citizens, who wanted to make their case heard, of the following: "if you're going to come here and talk about what you suffered in the past... keep on lecturing me about human rights... I'm not interested to listen." Some fellow Councillors echoed his sentiment by standing up and applauding his appalling disrespect for citizens whose rights have been violated. The Council voted to continue the flag raising practice.

In addition to his remarkable lack of empathy, Councillor Li's comment clearly breached Articles 16.1 and 17.2 of the Markham Council's Code of Conduct which require Council members to be courteous and respectful of the public's views. 

We demand Councillor Joe Li and the Councillors who stood up and applauded his comment to publicly apologize for this apparent lack of respect to Markham citizens.

Recording of the Council Meeting (Councillor Li's comment at 6.29.24):

https://pub-markham.escribemeetings.com/Players/ISIStandAlonePlayer.aspx?ClientId=markham&FileName=New%20Encoder_Council%20Meeting_2020-02-11-12-36.mp4

Background on Markham's Flag Raising Debate:

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-markham-ont-rejects-proposal-to-end-hoisting-foreign-flags-outside/

Markham City Council's Code of Conduct:

https://www.markham.ca/wps/wcm/connect/markham/ee78ef3d-8dbd-4075-8b0d-ec1ed62351f3/council-code-of-conduct.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CONVERT_TO=url&CACHEID=ROOTWORKSPACE.Z18_2QD4H901OGV160QC8BLCRJ1001-ee78ef3d-8dbd-4075-8b0d-ec1ed62351f3-mBPtbxa

Image used for this petition copyright The Globe and Mail newspaper.