New mayor apologizes for campaign comment

Wilfried Vicktor says “cute little paddles” was not intended to be disrespectful

I wish to take this opportunity to thank the community for the overwhelming support in this past week’s election.

The support exceeded my expectations and I am going to work very hard as your new mayor with the new council to see that this community moves forward at many levels.

It is also very important to at this time deal with an issue that came up at the recent mayoral all-candidates meeting.

During the all-candidates meeting a question from the moderator came forward that was essentially “Why did you veto the casino proposal when you were mayor the first time (1996-99)?”

I proceeded to mention that I didn’t veto the proposal, I merely brought the council issued letter of support back at the next council meeting to further discuss the issue. I was concerned about issues related to the casino proposal including infrastructure costs that the district might have to front, policing expenses, social services costs, etc. This action was never intended to be offensive to council or the Chawathil First Nation and their community but at the time it was by some taken that way.

During the recent all-candidates meeting I mistakenly used the words “cute little paddles” to discuss the small gift that the Chawathil gave every council member at that meeting approximately 17 years ago It is now my understanding that these “paddles” have significant spiritual significance.

I had forgotten the First Nation’s term for this gift.  I used the term “cute little paddles” because they were indeed cute little paddles but it was certainly not intended to be disrespectful in any way.

As many of the Chawathil First Nation community members will remember from my last term as mayor of Hope which finished six years ago, I attended many functions both joyous and somber ones (by invitation) on Chawathil lands and I certainly hope that this kind of inter-community dynamic continues in the future.

The First Nations are woven into every part of our community and I certainly would not intentionally do anything to disrespect that fact! I hope everyone reading this realizes that this letter is written as a respectful apology and my hope it is received as such.

Wilfried Vicktor,

Hope, B.C.