The following is from my original appeal to the BC Human Rights Tribunal to intercede in my being fired from my position with OMINECA Arts Centre in Prince George.
In October, 2018, I became involved with the OMINECA Arts Centre in Prince George as a volunteer.
On October 22, 2018, I attended the Annual General Meeting for the society and was elected a member of the board and given the responsibility for communications. Approximately 36 hours later, I was informed by Dr. Rob Budde, a member of the board, that I was being removed from that position. The reason given was that I used swastikas in my artwork on my personal website and that any connection made between myself and the society, as a board member, could be detrimental to the society.
My protests to the unjustness of this decision and that it flew in the face of freedom of expression were rejected. Another board member attending, Jordan Tucker, explained that she personally knew people that had been negatively affected by the symbol and that she could not support the swastika’s use. My argument that, for much of the world, the swastika is a positive symbol was rejected.
Please note that Rob Budde and Jennifer Annais Pighin, who identifies herself as “proud member of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation with Wet’suwet’en, French Canadian, and Italian ancestry”, have been vocal in the media about supporting their opposition to the lawful removal by the RCMP of the blockade of the Wet’suwet’en claimed territory on January 8, 2019. While I support the right of Budde and Pighin to make such protests, it seems they feel this kind of political activity doesn’t reflect on their involvement with OMINECA. In essence they want to censor my personal artwork because it might be controversial while having no qualms about being publicly involved in controversial political protests.