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City probes racist, sexist social media posts by fire-paramedic staff – Winnipeg Free Press



The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service is investigating social media posts by employees that allegedly contained racist and sexist content, offences the service says could trigger penalties that range up to termination.

A Sept. 18 memo written by WFPS chief John Lane, which was obtained by the Free Press, notes the service had issued social media guidelines for its employees, which were meant to ensure a diverse and welcoming workplace. Lane wrote that it took place in the midst of worldwide discussions about “racism, sexism, prejudice, and other threats to these core values.”

“Unfortunately… it is apparent that unacceptable behaviours continue on social media and occasionally among individuals. Instances have recently been brought to our attention. This is profoundly disappointing for me, both professionally and personally,” Lane wrote.

“Unfortunately… it is apparent that unacceptable behaviours continue on social media and occasionally among individuals.” –John Lane

The WFPS memo states that the incidents will be investigated, noting employees who have violated the city’s code of conduct and/or other rules may face discipline “up to and including termination of employment.”

Lane also urges all staff to report any behaviour that doesn’t meet city standards and notes a third party will be sought out to ensure that process is confidential.

The Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union (MGEU), which represents Winnipeg paramedics, said members have complained about racist and/or sexist posts by other WFPS staff, as well as some in-person interactions.

Michelle Gawronsky, MGEU’s president, said the issue has been reported since at least June, so the city must quickly move to address it.

“People should be thinking about the effect of what they’re putting up on social media at all times.” –Michelle Gawronsky

“It definitely is not stopping. We’ve been able to provide the employer with documents showing that. And so we are looking for some action now,” said Gawronsky.

She said WFPS must do something promptly to ensure better workplace conditions, an effort that could start with staff education.

“Frontline paramedics, in fact all workers, have the right to go to work and feel safe and secure in their jobs and not have to put up with any racism or sexism,” said Gawronsky.

The union leader said she believes the city must address all of the complaints, including those linked to personal social media accounts.

“When… it’s hurting other people, it is not acceptable at all. People should be thinking about the effect of what they’re putting up on social media at all times,” she said.

Alex Forrest, president of the United Fire Fighters of Winnipeg union, declined to comment, stating he had little knowledge of the investigation.

In an emailed statement, WFPS spokesperson Kristin Cuma did not answer specific questions about the number or nature of the complaints, the number of employees affected or the timeline of the investigation.

“No information will be provided about specific human resources matters involving individuals,” wrote Cuma.

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga


Joyanne Pursaga

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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Social Media Buzz: Trump Casts Ballot, SpaceX Launch, McBroken – BNN



(Bloomberg) — What’s buzzing on social media this morning:

A mask-wearing President Donald Trump cast his ballot in person in West Palm Beach, Florida, Saturday morning. “I voted for a guy named Trump,” he told reporters.

Brooklyn Museum is trending as people share photos of long lines, hours before early voting started in New York state.

SpaceX is targeting to launch Starlink this morning after delaying it from Oct. 22 to allow more time for mission assurance work. The weather today is 60% favorable, the company said in a tweet. Projected launch time is 11:31 a.m. EDT.

Former Fox News host and Trump loyalist Kimberly Guilfoyle, who was recently accused of sexual harassment, put her Manhattan apartment overlooking Central Park up for sale for about $5 million, Daily Mail reported. The pad, formerly “a taxidermist’s dream,” was transformed by Guilfoyle, who dates Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son.

A McDonald’s fan, who earlier failed to order an ice cream due to an out-of-service machine, created a website called to track which locations’ McFlurry machines are broken. The fast-food chain said it’s “exciting to see customer passion translate into customer-innovated solutions.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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Nunavut politicians vote to remove minister from cabinet over social media post – Lethbridge News Now



Before casting their ballots, some members made statements on the motion.

“It is up to us, everyone in this room, to show our commitment, to stand up against racism and gender violence. Now is that time,” Savikataaq told the assembly.

“Black lives matter. Indigenous lives matter. Women’s rights are human rights.”

Iqaluit-Manirajak MLA Adam Arreak Lightstone, who seconded the motion, thanked Savikataaq for his “swift action” to remove Netser.

“Freedom of expression does not equal freedom from consequence. The fact that the minister is still defending his position leads me to believe that there is no remorse,” Lightstone said.

In his statement, Netser apologized to the Black community but said his comments were not based on racism or gender violence.

“My reference to ‘all lives matter’ was certainly not stated in that context. And I would not have chosen these words if I knew they could be misconstrued as attempting to negate the struggles of my Black brothers and sisters,” Netser said.

Netser also said the Facebook post was an example of free speech.

“I understand that all lives cannot matter, if Black lives don’t matter. But my post on social media was meant to bring light to those without voices, the unborn,” he said.

“I did not make those statements in the house and I did not make them as a member of the executive council, but as an Inuk that values life.”

Netser also read a letter of support into the record from a friend, which questions whether people who criticize the government will be “picked up and shipped into the dark of the night to one of the many new internment camps across Canada.”

The letter also claims the federal government pays Canadian news media and mind control is imposed on people who speak out against the government.

Netsilik MLA Emiliano Qirngnuq told the assembly he would not support the motion to oust Netser because “we do have an expression of freedom” in Canada.

“We have to think about our children and the future of our children. We have to deeply reflect on our society’s values into the future,” Qirngnuq said

Justice Minister Jeannie Ehaloak told the assembly Netser’s comments were concerning. And politicians can’t say whatever they want, if their words have a negative impacts on people.

Speaking to reporters after the vote, Savikataaq said the decision to remove Netser was not easy but had to be made.

Because Nunavut has a consensus-style government, only a full caucus can remove cabinet members.

Netser, who represents Coral Harbour and Naujaat, is to stay on as an MLA.

A leadership forum is expected to take place next week to select Netser’s replacement in cabinet.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 23, 2020.


This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian press News Fellowship

Emma Tranter, The Canadian Press

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Britain's Prince Charles wrote to support historic Australian PM sacking: media –



SYDNEY (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince Charles sent a hand-written letter of support to Australia’s governor general in 1976, backing his controversial sacking of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, local media reported on Saturday.

The letter, published on Saturday by The Australian newspaper, is dated four months after Queen Elizabeth’s representative in Australia, John Kerr, took the unprecedented step to dismiss Whitlam without first warning the palace or the prime minister.

“Please don’t lose heart,” the heir to the British throne wrote in the hand-written letter to Kerr on Mar. 27.

“What you did last year was right and the courageous thing to do — and most Australians seemed to endorse your decision when it came to the point.”

The letter was revealed in an extract of a book “The Truth of the Palace Letters: Deceit, Ambush and Dismissal in 1975” by Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston, due to be published next month.

Whitlam’s firing remains one of the country’s most polarising political events because it represented an unmatched level of intervention by the Commonwealth.

Historians say the country was never told the full story behind Whitlam’s removal during a political deadlock over the Budget and in 2016, one historian sued Australia’s National Archives for access to letters between Kerr and the Queen.

In July, the 211 so-called “palace letters” were published, pulling the veil from one of the great mysteries of Australian politics, and re-igniting a conversation about whether the country should cut ties with Britain and become a republic.

(Reporting by Paulina Duran; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)

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