SUMMERLAND (NEWS 1130) — Despite receiving death threats and hate mail for destroying confederate bandanas sold at a local dollar store, the mayor of Summerland is not backing down, saying there’s no place for racism in her town.
In a Facebook post, the owner of Your Dollar Store With More, Allan Carter accused Mayor Toni Boot of bullying his staff before cutting up around 30 of the bandanas that depicted the flag.
“I feel that the actions and conduct of Summerland Mayor Toni Boot were unprofessional, uncalled for and incredibly inappropriate,” the Facebook post reads. “I did nothing illegal or flaunt any racism within our store. Toni did not politely tell me that “confederate bandanas are inappropriate in Summerland”. They were an item for sale, although in reflection, was a poor decision.”
“I am requesting a public apology from the mayor for bullying my staff and her very inappropriate actions at my store. To Toni, this issue is not about racism. This issue is about your lack of respect, professional conduct, abuse of power, bullying, and poor judgment towards a local business and staff that strongly supports our community events financially and our community at large,” Carter goes on to write.
Boot says given the history of the flag – it is all about racism and says they never should have been sold at all. “He owns this business. When I asked him why he was carrying them, he said people want them. Yeah? Well, you’re profiting off this.” @NEWS1130
— Tarnjit Parmar (@Tarnjitkparmar) July 22, 2020
Boot hit back at Carter, saying the image of the confederate flag has no place in Summerland.
“This is everything about racism. He is making this about him. He’s making himself the victim. In my opinion, this is absolutely pathetic and inexcusable. He is trying to draw the story away from what I am raising and what others are raising in Summerland, which is supporting the Lekhi family. Let’s pull back the rug and show we have to do some work here. Summerland is pushing back against racism.”
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The action to cut a rip 30 bandanas decorated with the symbol came after a South Asian family’s home had windows smashed, and the exterior vandalized with racist graffiti.
Later in the week, a truck displaying a Confederate flag was spotted during an anti-racism rally held in support of the family.
When the police found the man who was visiting from Alberta, he asked to meet with Boot so he could apologize.
During the conversation between Boot and the man, he mentioned he had purchased the flag in her town, so she decided to confront the store’s owner.
Boot tells NEWS 1130 the issue of the confederate flags had been raised several years ago, but the flags continued to be sold by Carter.
The mayor claims she has previously spoken to Carter where he agreed to stop selling the flag.
“They are trying to deflect this conversation to be about how it will impact his business. Well, sir, you made the business decision to bring in these confederate flags after telling me and a friend who talked to him before, he had said a few years ago he would no longer sell Confederate flags. Now we see that he has made the choice to sell the flags again. He is giving the excuse that he didn’t know which bandanas he was getting. This bandana is a piece of material, the only thing on it is the confederate flag. So whether you call it a bandana or a confederate flag, it is an image of the confederate flag.”
“They were being used for making masks due to a shortage of personal protective equipment. They were not specifically ordered. I asked my supplier to send every bandana available in his inventory which included the ones in the discussion,” Carter writes in his Facebook post.
Here is the FB post from the owner of the dollar store, who says he does not consider the issue one that involves racism, and who demands an apology from Mayor Toni Boot. @NEWS1130 pic.twitter.com/zt3sNpYUa4
— Tarnjit Parmar (@Tarnjitkparmar) July 22, 2020
Although Boot says this is not an excuse as Carter profits from the sales.
“This is all about racism. The Confederate flag is all about white supremacy, racism, and hate. Do not deflect the conversation away from what has happened in Summerland,” Boot says. “If you’re not sure, then Google it. You can see the Confederate flag being flown along with the Nazi party flag by white supremacist groups. It’s a symbol of hate.”
“The real story here is that racism in Summerland has reared its ugly head. This was his decision. He owns this business, he made the decision to bring these in,” she says. “When I asked him why he was carrying them, he said people want them, people are demanding them. Yeah? Well, you’re profiting off this. And that’s when I said he was perpetuating racism in our town and we are not going to stand for it.”
The mayor has also been receiving hate mail questioning how Cater’s business will be impacted, but Boot is calling on the store owner to take accountability for his business decisions.
“This is all about racism. Put your big boy pants on and take accountability for your business decision”