Positive posters duke it out with neo-Nazi stickers on Calgary Transit property
Inspiring poster appears same week as Blood and Honour stickers are found on Calgary Transit property
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Before rushing to catch an inbound Ctrain at the City Hall Station a mother points out the sign to her child and says “you see that, it says ‘you matter so much.’”
The same week Calgary Transit worked to remove a couple of stickers for Calgary’s Blood and Honour organization – a neo-Nazi group responsible for some of the largest “white pride” parades in Canada – signs of encouragement have popped up in other parts of town.
The printer paper with black sharpie sign was still visible Thursday afternoon. And as Calgarians boarded trains, some stopped to read what it said.
“You matter, it’s a positive sign, encouraging and nice to see,” said Ayesha Murtaza, who was waiting for a train. “I’ve heard of having these signs on bathroom mirrors…people like this kind of thing.”
That reaction is in contrast to the white, black and red Blood and Honour stickers, which have been removed from the city’s Sunnyside station, stirred up concern from nearby passengers. Some said the sticker isn’t OK in this day and age, especially with all the work done to be accepting in Canada.
“It just makes me feel like after all we’ve been through and all we’ve fought for, it’s just not working,” said Jennifer Hidber, a transit rider. “It’s disheartening.”
The group’s website indicates they’re a “nationalist organization and European cultural group” their last meeting was Nov. 11, and in March, the group held a private “white pride” event.
“That sticker would scare a lot of citizens in Calgary,” said Gabby Fletcher, another transit rider. “I feel really bad because (discrimination) is not happening to me, but it’s happening to a lot of my friends, they live here too, they’re Canadian too.”
It’s not clear if the positive posters, and Blood and Honour stickers are directly connected.
Although the neo-Nazi stickers have been flagged on social media as “hateful” according to Calgary Police the stickers aren’t “hate speech.”
“There are many groups who may say or do extremely offensive things, but it is not a crime to have an alternative view,” said senior Cst. Craig Collins, Hate Crimes Coordinator. “In order for something to cross the line into criminal hate speech, it has to be targeted towards an identifiable group, be made and said publically and must be likely to lead to harm against those individuals.”
He added however, that police would welcome any information on these stickers or posters.
In Toronto earlier this month posters urging “white people” to join the “alt-right” were plastered throughout a neighbourhood, eliciting a slew of positivity posters in response.