Hamilton Colombian group demands apology from Councillor Ferguson

News Apr 06, 2016 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

A Colombian organization is demanding a public apology from Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson and requesting Hamilton council revise its code of conduct policy so that it can take action against politicians who may make similar statements in the future.

Three members of the Colombian Refugees Association took Ferguson to task at the April 4 government issues committee meeting for what they say was disparaging comments he made in February about Colombia.

“I felt disrespected,” said Liliana Figueredo, an Ancaster resident who was born in Colombia and lived there for 20 years. “Canada is a country where we respect each other. We demand a public apology.”

During the Feb. 1 meeting, Director of Transit David Dixon was making a presentation about transit and he quoted Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa, who has visited Hamilton to talk about his ideas about complete streets.

Ferguson questioned Dixon referring to Penalosa, saying “When I was in Colombia, all I saw was chickens riding buses. And just like you see in (the film) Romancing the Stone, they have people riding on the roof. It just seems like a backwards country to be benchmarking.”

When other councillors at the meeting rolled their eyes and stared at the councillor for what he said, Ferguson responded “Lighten up guys, it was supposed to be funny.”

Carlos Vasquez didn’t find Ferguson’s comments humorous at all.

“These statements are offensive,” he said. “We don’t want excuses, we want to see action. He has not retracted his statements.”

Under pressure from the Hamilton community, especially on social media, Ferguson sent a letter to Nicolas Lloredo-Ricaurte, Colombia’s ambassador to Canada apologizing for his comments.

But Vasquez said that wasn’t good enough. They did meet with Ferguson, but Vasquez said the councillor refused to apologize. He was hoping to see Ferguson at the GIC meeting so he could “make a public apology.”

Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson said Ferguson was absent from the meeting due to a personal issue. In an email he sent councillors, Ferguson stated he would be willing to make an apology.

Alexander Ramirez, who attended McMaster University, and is the son of a Chilean father and Colombian mother, said Ferguson’s comments “frustrated” him. He said the references continue a common stereotype of Colombia, which has 48 million people that it is “backwards” and controlled by the drug trade.

Ramirez said the group wants to make sure “this doesn’t happen again” and urged councillors to change the city’s code of conduct.

Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla said he supported the group’s recommendations. As a person with Sicilian heritage he also has had to fight against stereotyping by other people.

“I was concerned about (Ferguson’s comments) about the culture and for the children,” he said.

Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green urged the group to make a complaint to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission since Ferguson is also chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board. He said at the time of the comments, he didn’t know how to respond at the meeting.

“There should have been a response,” he said.

No councillor at the meeting publicly refuted, or said anything about Ferguson’s comments.

Councillors referred the group’s request to council’s governance subcommittee for review.

 

 

Hamilton Colombian group demands apology from Councillor Ferguson

News Apr 06, 2016 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

A Colombian organization is demanding a public apology from Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson and requesting Hamilton council revise its code of conduct policy so that it can take action against politicians who may make similar statements in the future.

Three members of the Colombian Refugees Association took Ferguson to task at the April 4 government issues committee meeting for what they say was disparaging comments he made in February about Colombia.

“I felt disrespected,” said Liliana Figueredo, an Ancaster resident who was born in Colombia and lived there for 20 years. “Canada is a country where we respect each other. We demand a public apology.”

During the Feb. 1 meeting, Director of Transit David Dixon was making a presentation about transit and he quoted Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa, who has visited Hamilton to talk about his ideas about complete streets.

Ferguson questioned Dixon referring to Penalosa, saying “When I was in Colombia, all I saw was chickens riding buses. And just like you see in (the film) Romancing the Stone, they have people riding on the roof. It just seems like a backwards country to be benchmarking.”

When other councillors at the meeting rolled their eyes and stared at the councillor for what he said, Ferguson responded “Lighten up guys, it was supposed to be funny.”

Carlos Vasquez didn’t find Ferguson’s comments humorous at all.

“These statements are offensive,” he said. “We don’t want excuses, we want to see action. He has not retracted his statements.”

Under pressure from the Hamilton community, especially on social media, Ferguson sent a letter to Nicolas Lloredo-Ricaurte, Colombia’s ambassador to Canada apologizing for his comments.

But Vasquez said that wasn’t good enough. They did meet with Ferguson, but Vasquez said the councillor refused to apologize. He was hoping to see Ferguson at the GIC meeting so he could “make a public apology.”

Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson said Ferguson was absent from the meeting due to a personal issue. In an email he sent councillors, Ferguson stated he would be willing to make an apology.

Alexander Ramirez, who attended McMaster University, and is the son of a Chilean father and Colombian mother, said Ferguson’s comments “frustrated” him. He said the references continue a common stereotype of Colombia, which has 48 million people that it is “backwards” and controlled by the drug trade.

Ramirez said the group wants to make sure “this doesn’t happen again” and urged councillors to change the city’s code of conduct.

Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla said he supported the group’s recommendations. As a person with Sicilian heritage he also has had to fight against stereotyping by other people.

“I was concerned about (Ferguson’s comments) about the culture and for the children,” he said.

Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green urged the group to make a complaint to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission since Ferguson is also chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board. He said at the time of the comments, he didn’t know how to respond at the meeting.

“There should have been a response,” he said.

No councillor at the meeting publicly refuted, or said anything about Ferguson’s comments.

Councillors referred the group’s request to council’s governance subcommittee for review.

 

 

Hamilton Colombian group demands apology from Councillor Ferguson

News Apr 06, 2016 by Kevin Werner Ancaster News

A Colombian organization is demanding a public apology from Ancaster councillor Lloyd Ferguson and requesting Hamilton council revise its code of conduct policy so that it can take action against politicians who may make similar statements in the future.

Three members of the Colombian Refugees Association took Ferguson to task at the April 4 government issues committee meeting for what they say was disparaging comments he made in February about Colombia.

“I felt disrespected,” said Liliana Figueredo, an Ancaster resident who was born in Colombia and lived there for 20 years. “Canada is a country where we respect each other. We demand a public apology.”

During the Feb. 1 meeting, Director of Transit David Dixon was making a presentation about transit and he quoted Bogota Mayor Enrique Penalosa, who has visited Hamilton to talk about his ideas about complete streets.

Ferguson questioned Dixon referring to Penalosa, saying “When I was in Colombia, all I saw was chickens riding buses. And just like you see in (the film) Romancing the Stone, they have people riding on the roof. It just seems like a backwards country to be benchmarking.”

When other councillors at the meeting rolled their eyes and stared at the councillor for what he said, Ferguson responded “Lighten up guys, it was supposed to be funny.”

Carlos Vasquez didn’t find Ferguson’s comments humorous at all.

“These statements are offensive,” he said. “We don’t want excuses, we want to see action. He has not retracted his statements.”

Under pressure from the Hamilton community, especially on social media, Ferguson sent a letter to Nicolas Lloredo-Ricaurte, Colombia’s ambassador to Canada apologizing for his comments.

But Vasquez said that wasn’t good enough. They did meet with Ferguson, but Vasquez said the councillor refused to apologize. He was hoping to see Ferguson at the GIC meeting so he could “make a public apology.”

Stoney Creek councillor Maria Pearson said Ferguson was absent from the meeting due to a personal issue. In an email he sent councillors, Ferguson stated he would be willing to make an apology.

Alexander Ramirez, who attended McMaster University, and is the son of a Chilean father and Colombian mother, said Ferguson’s comments “frustrated” him. He said the references continue a common stereotype of Colombia, which has 48 million people that it is “backwards” and controlled by the drug trade.

Ramirez said the group wants to make sure “this doesn’t happen again” and urged councillors to change the city’s code of conduct.

Ward 4 councillor Sam Merulla said he supported the group’s recommendations. As a person with Sicilian heritage he also has had to fight against stereotyping by other people.

“I was concerned about (Ferguson’s comments) about the culture and for the children,” he said.

Ward 3 councillor Matthew Green urged the group to make a complaint to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission since Ferguson is also chair of the Hamilton Police Services Board. He said at the time of the comments, he didn’t know how to respond at the meeting.

“There should have been a response,” he said.

No councillor at the meeting publicly refuted, or said anything about Ferguson’s comments.

Councillors referred the group’s request to council’s governance subcommittee for review.