A candidate in Greenwood’s upcoming byelection has been named in complaints to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (HRT) and Elections BC, alleging she made racially insensitive comments on social media.
Since-deleted Facebook posts made on Sept. 26 to a Greenwood community page show mayor hopeful Carolina Hopkins call Métis man and former Greenwood resident Christopher Yates “an apple” who needed “to reconnect with [his] culture.”
Hopkins on the same thread said that Yates’ commentary was “mighty white of him.”
Elections BC spokesperson Melanie Hull said they won’t pursue Yates’ complaint because they have no authority to oversee candidates’ campaign behaviour.
“Our mandate in local elections is to administer the campaign financing and advertising rules established by the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act,” Hull explained.
“This legislation does not regulate statements made by candidates, or the content of election ads, apart from requiring authorization statements on paid ads.”
Yates told The Times that “an apple is a derogatory term for someone who is ‘red on the outside, white on the inside.’”
He said he’d never met Hopkins.
In an emailed statement to The Times, Hopkins argued that she didn’t intend for the comment to be derogatory and instead was referencing Adam and Eve from the bible.
“By Apple I meant what Satan tempted Eve … And that he was baiting me,” Hopkins said.
Candidate Hopkins said she has filed a complaint with Midway RCMP, which has jurisdiction in Greenwood, alleging that she has been targeted by online bullies who want to discredit her campaign because she’s a woman.
Greenwood’s municipal byelection will be held Saturday, Oct. 10, at the city’s MacArthur Centre.