Regina councillor issues statement after comments about homelessness, Indigenous culture draw fire

·2 min read
Coun. Terina Shaw listens during a Regina city council meeting on Sept. 14, 2022.  (Alexander Quon/CBC  - image credit)
Coun. Terina Shaw listens during a Regina city council meeting on Sept. 14, 2022. (Alexander Quon/CBC - image credit)

Regina Coun. Terina Shaw says she wants to "set the record straight" after her comments about homelessness and Indigenous culture drew complaints.

"The nature of my well-intentioned inquiry has been misappropriated to represent something completely counter to my values on very important issues such as homelessness, poverty, and racism," she said in a statement issued Tuesday.

"I appreciate that without proper context some people may take offence to what they have read, which is why I want to set the record straight."

Questioning a speaker in June, Shaw said she had been told there are people within Indigenous culture who do not want homes.

Two residents campaigned to oust Shaw from council. They wrote a letter signed by 47 residents, including themselves, referring to a January meeting of council's executive committee, and said Shaw made comments at that meeting implying that Indigenous men are sexual predators.

"My actions and long-standing commitments have proven my dedication to seeking improvement around these important issues," Shaw's statement continues.

"After meeting with Erica Beaudin and Susana Deranger on Sept. 1, along with Mayor Masters and City Manager Jim Nicol, I learnt how impactful my questions were to people's feelings. Susana Deranger in her kind and empathetic words helped me understand how I can offend a culture and how I need to understand my privilege."

Shaw avoids official punishment

At a council meeting last week, Shaw (Ward 7) avoided official punishment for comments made to a fellow councillor.

The decision to not punish Shaw went against the recommendation of integrity commissioner Angela Kruk, who said the first-term councillor should be sanctioned and made to take classes on respectful communication.

Shaw said at the meeting that she has attention deficit disorder and a brain injury. Her disclosure appeared to sway councillors against following the commissioner's recommendation.

Shaw also said then that a separate complaint had been deemed "unfounded" by the city's integrity commissioner.

That complaint, written by Regina residents Florence Stratton and Susana Deranger and signed by 45 other people, outlined two incidents they said were racist, promoted stereotypes and violated the City of Regina's code of ethics bylaw.

A statement issued Tuesday by the city clarified that the complaint wasn't "unfounded," but rather outside of the commissioners purview.

"In retrospect, "unfounded" was not the best word choice to summarize the Integrity Commissioner decision. Councillor Shaw and City Manager Nicol's remarks were intended to convey that the specific complaint had fallen outside of the Commissioner's authority, and that it would not be investigated further," the statement said.