Calls for Winnipeg police board chair to step down over use of 'thin blue line' image
A police abolitionist group is calling on a Winnipeg city councillor to apologize and step down as police board chair after using what some consider to be a divisive symbol in a tweet earlier this month.
In a tweet offering his condolences to the families of two Edmonton police officers killed in the line of duty, Coun. Markus Chambers included an image of a 'thin blue line' patch. An hour later, Chambers changed the picture to that of an Edmonton Police Service badge.
A tweet from Winnipeg Police Board Chair Markus Chambers on March 16, 2023, including an image of a Thin Blue Line patch (left) was replaced an hour later with the picture of an Edmonton Police Service badge (right). (Source: Winnipeg Police Cause Harm)
“The image that was selected, I didn’t want that to become the story,” Chambers told CTV News on Monday. “I wanted the expression of condolences to the families, to the community to be the story.”
However, abolitionist group Winnipeg Police Cause Harm (WPCH) says the 'thin blue line' is a divisive and problematic symbol.
“[It] really exemplifies police hostility to the public and demonstrates the ‘us versus them’ narrative, which we think is really harmful,” WPCH member James Wilt told CTV News.
Wilt said 'thin blue l'ine imagery started gaining popularity around 2015.
“There was a lot of resistance to police violence in the U.S. with the emergence of Black Lives Matter,” Wilt explained. “And so, with the rise of the counter-narrative to that, the pro-police narrative Blue Lives Matter.”
Kevin Walby, an associate professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Winnipeg, said the image has since been co-opted by hate groups.
“I think it’s really important to denounce this, the use of this symbol, which is so clearly indexed to hate,” Walby told CTV News. “And whether or not the councillor knows that, whether or not the city council knows that, it’s very clear. It cannot be disputed at this point."
Chambers said that wasn’t his intention when he embedded the 'thin blue line' image in his tweet,
“There are still those who sincerely believe that the intent of it was to memorialize fallen officers. That’s the perspective I used it under,” Chambers said.
However, WPCH members want Chambers to be held accountable.
“We would like to see an apology, a denouncing of the symbol, and also Councillor Chambers step down as chair of the police board,” Wilt said.
Wilt said the police board should only act an intermediary between the public and police.
“If he’s explicitly taking these very harmful pro-police stances, [the board] is not really doing that duty,” Wilt said.
“I’m not going to apologize,” Chambers told CTV News. “Again, this is a story about the two fallen officers, not the interest of these individuals who are co-opting this message. The loss of these two officers actively trying to serve and protect our community."
'Thin blue line' imagery has been denounced by law-enforcement agencies throughout Canada and the U.S., including the RCMP.
The Winnipeg Police Service did not respond to a request for comment on its policy.
Winnipeg Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Freeland's budget bill passes House after Poilievre pledges to block it
The federal budget implementation bill passed the House of Commons on Thursday, after days of Conservative attempts to block it.
'Tremendous amount we could be doing': Expert shares tips for preventing, adapting to wildfires
As wildfires rage across Canada in what’s being called an unprecedented season, one expert says there’s more that individuals and communities can do to adapt and prevent forest fires from causing widespread devastation.
Supreme Court of Canada won't hear unvaccinated woman's case for organ donation
The Supreme Court of Canada will not hear the appeal of an Alberta woman who was unwilling to be vaccinated in order to get a life-saving organ transplant.
Are more interest rate hikes on the way? Here's what experts say
In the wake of the Bank of Canada’s unexpected rate hike, economists are pointing to further tightening in the near term.
10-year-old girl survives more than 24 hours alone in the rugged Cascade mountains after getting lost while out with her family
Rescuers in Washington state are praising the resourcefulness of a 10-year-old girl who survived on her own for more than 24 hours in the rugged terrain of the Cascade mountains after getting lost while out with her family.
Wildfire battles continue as heat, air quality alerts affect most of Canada
Air pollution from wildfires remained well above healthy levels across much of southern and northern Ontario and several communities in British Columbia and Alberta on Thursday.
4 very young children critically wounded in knife attack in French Alpine town
As bystanders screamed for help, a man with a knife stabbed four young children at a lakeside park in the French Alps on Thursday, assaulting at least one in a stroller repeatedly. The children between 22 months and 3 years old suffered life-threatening injuries, and two adults also were wounded, authorities said.
Liberals unveil plan to make hybrid House of Commons sittings permanent
Government House Leader Mark Holland has unveiled the federal Liberals' plans to make hybrid sittings a permanent feature in the House of Commons.
Premier remains mum on funding to search Manitoba landfill for remains of 2 women
The decision to search a Winnipeg-area landfill for the remains of two First Nations women and who will fund it remains up in the air a month after a feasibility study was completed.
Bear spray incident shuts down new Wascana Pool's opening day
Regina’s Wascana Pool had to be shut down during its first day of operation after undergoing major renovations following an alleged bear spray incident.
Regina mayor says homeless camp was reaching 'critical point' before teardown
Regina's mayor says the city's fire department had growing concerns about the health, safety and well-being of those living in a homeless camp that was dismantled on Wednesday morning.
Hot Regina schools a symptom of crowded classrooms and chronic underfunding, union says
The uncomfortably hot temperatures some kids are experiencing in classrooms are another sign the province needs to rethink its approach to funding schools, the head of Saskatchewan's teachers' union says.
'Men like to strike women': Judge slams culture of domestic violence in Sask. during murder sentencing
A man who killed his ex-wife’s cousin will spend life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years, a judge decided on Thursday at Saskatoon’s Court of King’s Bench.
Veteran Saskatoon city councillor Glen Penner dead at 82
Long-time city councillor and former Saskatchewan Liberal MLA Glen Penner died on Monday, according to a Saskatoon obituary.
Saskatoon property taxes could see 13 per cent hike as city confronts $75M revenue gap
Significant property tax hikes may be needed to cover a funding shortfall, according to City of Saskatoon administration.
Wildfire evacuation order west of Sudbury, Ont., expands, highway closed
A wildfire west of Sudbury, Ont., has quadrupled in size prompting evacuation orders to be expanded and one highway to close.
Another northern Ont. resident charged for illegal backyard fire, 5th in one week
A fifth person in northern Ontario has been charged in less than a week for having a campfire during the fire ban.
Poor air quality forces cancellation of surgeries at Temiskaming Hospital
The Temiskaming Hospital says poor air quality caused by forest fires has led to the cancellation of all surgeries and obstetrical procedures scheduled for Friday.
Part of Yellowhead County evacuated because of wildfire
An evacuation order was issued for an area near the McLeod River in Yellowhead County on Thursday at noon.
More sexual assault charges laid against John and Leigh Ann de Ruiter
A self-proclaimed spiritual leader is now accused of sexually assaulting seven women, and his wife is charged in five of those cases as well, Edmonton police announced Thursday.
Alberta premier plays down prospect of advisory council of defeated candidates
Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is playing down an earlier pledge to create a council of defeated Edmonton candidates to advise her.
Video captures bus plowing into stopped traffic in deadly Mississauga, Ont. crash
Video has surfaced showing a Mississauga, Ont. transit bus plowing into stopped traffic in a crash that left one person dead and at least eight injured on Thursday morning.
Toronto constable demoted for role in cheating promotions exam
An officer who admitted to playing a part in a scheme to cheat the Toronto Police Service promotions procedure has been temporarily demoted instead.
Girl rescued from burning home in Brampton last week has died: OFM
A girl rescued from a burning home in Brampton last week has died in the hospital, Ontario's fire marshal said on Friday.
Worker buried in trench collapse during sewer repairs in Charleswood
Occupational Health and Safety is investigating a trench collapse that occurred at a utility repair site in the community of Charleswood on Thursday.
High River auto body shop owners featured in Discovery Channel reality series
The series is called Bush Wreck Rescue and it's described by the producers as "Western Canadian motorheads obsessed with turning abandoned trucks into custom gems, hunt for old rust buckets, drag them out of the bush and go to great lengths to transform them into vintage classics."
Southern Alberta town cancels alert after cougar sighting
The Town of Magrath in southern Alberta cancelled an alert for a dangerous animal after a cougar was spotted on the Magrath nature trail early Thursday morning.
Quebec wildfire situation 'stable' for coming days; evacuees stuck until next week
Quebec's precarious wildfire situation is expected to remain stable over the next 48 hours but residents displaced by the raging forest fires likely won't be able to return home until early next week, Premier Francois Legault said Thursday.
Man accused of Claudia Iacono killing was arrested the next day in Ontario on drug charges
An Ontario man charged Wednesday with first-degree murder in the death of Claudia Iacono, the daughter-in-law of the late Montreal Mafia associate Moreno Gallo, was arrested the day after the killing in Ontario on unrelated drug charges, public records show.
Former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre opens up about life after stroke, depression
Former Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, who spent his life in politics, collapsed and suffered a stroke on April 11, and even as he's slowly recovering, the fighter's instinct, that he's known for, is very much alive.
Air quality improves over Ottawa, but smoky skies could return on Friday
People in the Ottawa-Gatineau area are breathing fresher air, as smoke and haze from wildfires in northern Ontario and Quebec moves out of the area.
Rising interest rates making 30-year amortization more popular for homebuyers
As interest rates continue to rise, the cost of buying a house in Ottawa and across Canada is becoming more expensive. Many homeowners are now forced to extend their mortgage payments.
Bear spotted in Kanata neighbourhood 'safely placed in a cage', police say
Police received a call about a bear sighting in the 500 block of Woodchase Street, near Breckenridge Crescent, at approximately 9 a.m.
Higgs government faces caucus revolt over changes to LGBTQ school policy in N.B.
New Brunswick students under the age of 16 who identify as trans and non-binary won't be able to officially change their names or pronouns in school without parental consent.
Halifax says more residents can return home Friday after wildfires
The Halifax Regional Municipality says it will announce Thursday when more residents can return to their homes in communities impacted by the Tantallon wildfires.
N.B. shellfish company shuttered over improper storage of shell waste: environment minister
A company at the centre of a community fight over what residents in the town of Beaurivage, N.B. say is a powerful stench has been ordered to cease operations.
Air quality in K-W could improve with chance of rain forecast Thursday night: Environment Canada
Waterloo region and Wellington County remain under a special air quality statement for the fourth straight day Thursday with pollution levels expected to worsen into the evening before potential rainfall and shifting winds could bring some reprieve.
Cyclist taken to hospital after crash in Kitchener
A cyclist has been taken to an out-of-region hospital with what police call “potentially serious injuries” after a crash involving a vehicle in Kitchener.
Fire at Waterloo house displaces 7 people
Firefighters were called to the house on Laurel Street around noon Thursday.
WATCH LIVE | B.C. officials to provide update on wildfire situation, air quality
Smoke has eased in much of Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, but air quality advisories remain in place.
Brazilian curling champion pleads guilty to B.C. sex crimes involving underage victims
A youth curling coach who was a three-time Brazilian champion in the sport has pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual interference, according to authorities in B.C.
Port Moody police seek missing couple last seen 2 weeks ago
Police in Port Moody are asking the public for help locating a young couple that hasn't been seen in two weeks.
WATCH LIVE | Vancouver Island wildfire rages on with no timeline to reopen crucial highway
British Columbia wildfire officials say firefighters are making some progress battling an out-of-control wildfire that has closed Highway 4, the only highway connecting western Vancouver Island with the rest of the province.
Serious crash blocks major street into downtown Victoria
Two people were taken to hospital following a serious collision on Blanshard Street just outside of downtown Victoria.
New Vancouver-Nanaimo ferry service announces pricing, launch timing
The new passenger-only ferry service between Vancouver and Nanaimo, Hullo, has announced that it will begin operations this summer.