THUNDER BAY -- The city’s mayor believes comments made by Tamara Johnson are motivated by hate.
Johnson, Libertarian Thunder Bay-Superior North candidate, ran a full page advertisement in The Chronicle-Journal this week that First Nations leaders and now the city of Thunder Bay have denounced as racism.
The ad states that no group of people are entitled to handouts, no one is owed a debt by taxpayers and that Crown lands are public, not native.
"No group of people are 'special' and deserve first class 'Super-Citizen' status," Johnson's ad states.
Mayor Keith Hobbs, in the lobby at city hall Friday afternoon, said that the ad and comments made by Johnson on Facebook are clearly hate.
"It makes me sick," he said. "It flies right in the face of what we're doing as a city. This is not a Thunder Bay that we want.”
Fort William First Nation chief Georjann Morriseau said she was shocked and appalled when she saw the ad, but she sadly wasn't that surprised.
"I think we know that in our community there are a lot of people that are severely, severely misinformed and uneducated when it comes to the Indigenous people of Canada," she said.
While it's ignorant of treaty rights, the issue is one of human rights in general Morriseau said.
With Johnson getting more than 900 votes in Thursday night's provincial election, she said it shows the community has a long way to go.
"There's an unfortunate appetite for that kind of rhetoric," she said.
Johnson said she stands by everything printed in the ad and is only telling the truth that no one is above the law.
"I've never said anything racist, not one word. Read my post," she said referring to her Facebook profile.
"Please point out a racist comment that I've made. People may not like the truth and they may not like the conversation but we need to have it."
Having a conversation is something everyone agrees on.
Hobbs said issues like this need to get out in the open so that people can be educated on treaties and the history of First Nations people. There needs to be more public outcry, but it's still disheartening that people have to come to city hall to gather over something like this at all.
For Morriseau, she'll keep meeting and speaking out because she believes it's worth it.
Johnson said she's received numerous death threats and has filed police reports.
Morriseau said she hopes people won't stoop to that level.