In a Facebook post Friday, Calgary’s 13th County. Dan McLean wrote that he sincerely apologized for “past mistakes” after critics followed a series of videos posted on social media that claimed to implicate him in racist mockery of Indigenous people.
In videos posted to social media by an anonymous account, two individuals who appear to be former Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis and political strategist Craig Chandler are seen talking on the phone to a anonymous person without photo allegedly McLean.
CBC News has been unable to independently verify the authenticity of the videos or a related photo that purports to show McLean sitting at a table with Denis and Chandler.
In the videos, the men perform racist caricatures of Indigenous people, at one point playing the mocking role of an Indigenous woman with a vulgar made-up surname.
McLean first said Thursday that he had seen the video but had no recollection of the event in a message to CBC News.
But on Friday, McLean posted a video on social media, standing next to Alice Marchand, a First Nations elder whom he called a good friend. In his message, he wrote that he had “made mistakes in the past” and that he “sincerely apologized”, although he did not directly address the videos.
“Due to recent events that have unfolded on social media, I have felt it necessary to release this statement, this video,” McLean said in his Facebook video, posted on Friday.
“To be very, very clear, all my life I have always deeply admired and respected the cultures and histories of First Nations peoples, Métis and indigenous. »
McLean said one of his first girlfriends was Indigenous, adding that he had good friends who were also Indigenous.
“I too hope for a better future, a future where politicians, political operatives, the media, Twitterati, maybe stop using religion and culture to divide us,” he said. .
“So now more than ever, we must work together on our path to reconciliation, a brighter future and prosperity for all of us.”
Marchand, who said she is a member of the Okanagan First Nation, called on people to resolve their differences in a positive way and thanked McLean for what he had done for her personally.
Friday, Ward 9 County. Gian Carlo-Carra said he does not believe McLean’s statements in the video released on Friday constitute an apology.
“But before anyone – and especially a leader – can truly apologize, they must confront and share the truth about why they, or anyone else, might engage in such behavior in the first place. place,” he wrote in a statement. “I call on my colleague to take these steps on his journey to an apology.”
Ward 8 County. Courtney Walcott also pushed back against McLean’s approach.
“Nowhere in this video is there any real acknowledgment that the wrong has been done. Instead there is a claim of long standing respect and admiration,” he wrote on Twitter. . “It would be in direct opposition to ‘events that unfolded on social media’.”
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Ward 11 County Kourtney Penner previously demanded an apology from McLean.
“I’m deeply disappointed and have shared this with Councilor McLean,” she wrote on Twitter ahead of McLean’s video.
Asked about the incident during a media scrum on Friday, Mayor Jyoti Gondek said she reached out to McLean on Thursday to give her perspective on the situation, adding that she had yet to review the recent statement. of McLean.
Previous series of videos
Denis and Chandler were also supposed to be photographed in a separate video series posted on social media that also involved racist caricatures of Indigenous people in late September.
At the time, Denis said he had no recollection of these videos, although he apologized “if they were real”.
He said it was possible it happened years ago while he was under the influence of alcohol, but added that he hadn’t abused alcohol for some time. . Denis was Alberta’s Minister of Justice under the Progressive Conservative government from 2012 to 2015.
After the new series of videos were released, Denis’ law firm, Guardian Law Firm, challenged their authenticity to local media on Thursday, although they did not immediately respond to a CBC News request for comment. .
“We now have evidence that these videos are doctored. The police are engaged,” said the email, shared with the Calgary Herald and The Western Standard.
At the time the first videos were released, Chandler was working as a telephone banking contractor for Prime Minister Danielle Smith’s campaign. Smith fired Chandler, calling the videos appalling.
Chandler, for his part, said the videos referenced the famous Brocket 99 audio tape, a fake 1980s radio show produced in Lethbridge, Alberta, based on racist stereotypes of First Nations people.
“Some comedies aren’t politically correct, but that’s a private function of my close friends. The video was taken by a close friend, I thought,” he said at the time.
“Quite frankly, this cancel culture is killing society…I should be able to joke about an issue within the confines of my own home.”