Calls for resignation of Victoria city councillor grow after controversial letter
Posted November 20, 2023 4:16 pm.
Last Updated November 21, 2023 11:01 am.
Calls are growing for the resignation of a Victoria city councillor after her name appeared on a controversial letter.
A petition posted on Nov. 18 has garnered more than 8,000 signatures and seems to take issue with a specific line in the letter, which appears to have been posted in late October and has since been taken down.
That specific line is: “Meanwhile, Jagmeet Singh repeated the unverified accusation that Palestinians were guilty of sexual violence, refused to end his party’s deal with the Liberals, and revoked the passes of four delegates who joined a pro-Palestine rally at the NDP Convention.”
According to reports by The Associated Press, police in Israel say they’re currently investigating reports of sexual assault that took place on Oct. 7 when Hamas launched an attack on Israel.
Coun. Susan Kim is one of two politicians whose name appeared on the letter addressed to members of parliament.
“In being an elected member of Victoria City Council, Ms. Kim has a responsibility to serve all members of her community to the best of her ability, including Jewish members,” the petition calling for Kim’s resignation states. “In behaving the way she has, she has brought our community into disrepute and has lost the trust and respect of many citizens in the City of Victoria.”
The other politician whose name appears on the letter is independent Ontario MPP Sarah Jama, who was removed from theparty for her comments on the Israel-Hamas war last month.
Kim’s name also appears on an open letter signed by 69 other local government leaders across B.C., as of Nov. 20, that calls for an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East.
In the letter, the signed leaders say they’re asking for the Canadian government to: “call for a ceasefire, support unrestricted access to humanitarian aid, and secure the release of all hostages.”
Meanwhile, Victoria Mayor Marianne Alto released a statement on Monday on the war in the Middle East.
“The outpour of islamophobia and antisemitism that we have seen in our community, across BC, and throughout Canada, is appalling,” Alto states.
“Over the past weeks, I have met with members of the local Muslim and Jewish communities and heard about the violence and vitriol that have been directed towards them. These reprehensible acts of hate have no place in Victoria.”
Victoria councillor issues letter responding to concerns
In a letter to her Victoria constituents late Monday night, Kim expressed regret over “how this matter has polarized our community. This was never my intent.”
She goes on to say that her personal principles “demand” that she condemns any and all forms of hate and oppression, “be it victim-blaming, genocide, racism, anti-Semitism, and Islamaphobia.”
“On the open letter signed by civil society, I agree that a ceasefire is a necessary next step in de-escalating the horrific conflict we’re seeing on the other side of the globe. To further clarify, that letter was not written by me. It is disappointing that international media did not reach out to verify the letter’s authorship,” she says.
However, Kim does not mention Israel, Hamas, or Palestinians in her statement.
“My primary duty is to serve the city and its residents; I am sorry for how this matter has pulled me away from the work of this city. I will continue to serve out the rest of my term to the best of my abilities on behalf of those who entrusted me with this privilege,” she ends the letter.
CityNews has reached out to the creator of the petition for comment.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include Coun. Susan Kim’s letter which was published late Monday night.