The husband of an Abbotsford councillor has expressed disappointment after an All Lives Matter comment he made on a Downtown Abbotsford Instagram post was deleted several weeks ago.
The social media activity of Arnold Falk, the husband of Coun. Brenda Falk, was brought to the public’s attention over the weekend when University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) instructor Sharn Kaur Sandhra shared a screenshot of a comment made by local business Tanglebank, which is owned by the Falks, on a Black Lives Matter picture posted by Downtown Abbotsford.
The original post states that racism has no place in Abbotsford and encourages locals to donate to Black Lives Matters causes or purchase literature on the subject to gain a better understanding of the movement.
Tanglebank replied to that post stating, “All lives matter. Let’s treat people with respect and dignity no matter what colour or gender they are. Treat people the way you want to be treated and let’s stop the BS”
Look what I just discovered – this local restaurant also happens to be owned by @abbotsfordfirst council member Brenda Falk. So… supporting people of colour is BS eh?? Yikes @City_Abbotsford you all are on a roll lately. @AbbyNews @ty_olsen pic.twitter.com/d3YWK4np48
— Sharn! (NOT Sharon) Kaur (@SharnFTC) July 24, 2020
Many social media users speculated that it was Coun. Falk who made those comments, but The News learned on Monday that it was her husband Arnold Falk. He told The News he was upset the comment got deleted.
“I guess Downtown Abbotsford feels that treating people with respect and dignity and that all lives do matter was something that they didn’t agree with so they deleted it,” he stated in an email.
“As for the BLM movement, I think it is a good thing but now unfortunately it has been hijacked by certain individuals whose only goal is to cause chaos and destruction to people’s personal property and businesses as well. Like I stated in my comment, if we started to treat our fellow brothers the way we would want to be treated we probably wouldn’t be where we are in society today.”
He added that he didn’t think making comments like that would damage his wife politically.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t even think that people would think it was her posting or hurt her politically,” he said.
Those comments run opposite to the public statements made by Coun. Falk’s slate Abbotsford First and Mayor Henry Braun.
Abbotsford First posted to Twitter on June 11 that they are proud of Abbotsford after the local protests and were upset that the memorial created following the gatherings was destroyed.
We were incredibly proud of Abbotsford last weekend after seeing a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest to highlight issues of systemic racism. Watching people of many backgrounds and ages come together to help advocate for change gives us hope for a better future.
— Abbotsford First (@abbotsfordfirst) June 11, 2020
Braun also released an official statement on June 11, speaking on behalf of Abbotsford city council, stating that they stand with community members during this time and urge everyone to commit to end all forms of racism in Abbotsford.
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𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗲𝗺𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗔𝗯𝗯𝗼𝘁𝘀𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗱 𝗠𝗮𝘆𝗼𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗹 – 𝗢𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗥𝗮𝗰𝗶𝘀𝗺, 𝗗𝗶𝘀𝗰𝗿𝗶𝗺𝗶𝗻𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜𝗻𝘁𝗼𝗹𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲 On behalf of Abbotsford City Council, I’d like to share some brief comments in regards to recent events– particularly the mobilization of people across the world, and especially those in our community who are spotlighting issues of systemic racism. These last few weeks have allowed many of us to step back and reflect on these issues, specifically how they affect Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) across our communities. We are not immune from systemic racism in Canada. As one of the most diverse communities in Canada, we recognize that Abbotsford residents have their own lived experiences and challenges. We stand with our community members and want to work alongside you. We know that diversity is our strength, and now, more than ever, we must commit to an end to all forms of racism in our community. With respect, Henry Braun Mayor, City of Abbotsford #AbbotsfordBC
Social media chatter relating to Sandhra’s post continued over the week, with Coun. Dave Loewen saying that he felt Sandhra lumped in all city council and questioned their record when she tagged the City of Abbotsford in her original tweet.
Loewen asked if Sandhra spoke for UFV and tagged the school and UFV president Dr. Joanne McLean in a tweet. He later apologized for doing so and stated that his views against racism are very clear. He also said the comments made by Tanglebank reflected poor judgment.
Question: Am I to take your views expressed on Twitter as representing UFV, simply because you are employed by them?
— Dave Loewen (@DaveFLoewen) July 25, 2020
— Dave Loewen (@DaveFLoewen) July 25, 2020
Tanglebank’s tweet in question was poor judgement. That it was taken down reflects acknowledgement of that fact. I know Brenda Falk well enough to state that she is not a racist. 1/2
— Dave Loewen (@DaveFLoewen) July 26, 2020
Coun. Patricia Ross also commented on the original thread, stating that she supports Downtown Abbotsford and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Please don’t assume all councillors hold the same opinion, Sharn. Personally, I applaud the integrity of the @DowntownAbbyBC and fully endorse their position statement and I want to learn more how I can do better to stop systemic racism. #BlackLivesMatter
— Patricia Ross (@PatriciaDRoss) July 26, 2020
The News reached out to both Abbotsford First and Coun. Falk, but have not yet received a reply. The last tweet Falk made on her account occurred on June 17, 2019.