The mayor's angry and the multicultural association is disgusted after an article naming Thunder Bay one of the worst cities in Canada for immigrants makes its rounds on social media.
Immigroup, an immigration consulting firm based out of Toronto, ranked Thunder Bay number eight on its "Top 8 Worst Cities to Move to in Canada.” The article, written last year but grabbed attention over the weekend, made reference to the city's "marginalized underclass of native Canadians" and having "3,000 people of colour" before being heavily edited Monday.
Thunder Bay Multicultural Association executive director Cathy Woodbeck said she was surprised by the comments.
"I was shocked by that and disgusted quite frankly by that. I think that's quite a racist comment," she said of the reference to Aboriginal people.
The edit states that the reference was to urban poverty for Aboriginal people, a problem across Canada.
"There was no intent on the part of the author or Immigroup to assign blame for these conditions, rather only to make note of them," it states.
Mayor Keith Hobbs said he found the whole thing offensive and his temper is getting shorter as more and more Internet articles bash the city without any facts to back it up.
"People need to do their homework," he said. "That's all I ask for these people doing these studies."
Multicultural Association immigration coordinator Michelle Lander came to Thunder Bay from Trinidad and Tobago 24 years ago. Some people move to the city and leave. But with around 600 people coming through the Association every year, immigration to Thunder Bay is up as is retention.
"Thunder Bay is what you make out of it," she said.
Immigroup research manager Riley Haas said the article's author Pat Spracklin no longer works for the organization but they stand by what he wrote. The article was meant to be "both informative and entertaining" Haas said.