Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets councillor Matt Whitman has learned from all this.
Progressive Conservative candidate Matt Whitman
for his “Chinese fire drill” stunt.
Whitman posted a YouTube video
last week of himself yelling the racially-charged phrase before exiting and then running around his car.
In a Facebook post
on Tuesday afternoon, the Hammonds Plains–St. Margarets
councillor said he wasn’t aware of the term's racist connotations.
for my lapse of judgement and my unintentional use of what I now understand to be an insensitive term,” Whitman writes. “I never meant to offend or hurt anyone. I have learned from this experience.”
The video was removed this week after media questions, with Whitman telling Global
and the Canadian Press that it had
become a “distraction.” He quickly brushed past reporters on his way to council chambers Tuesday afternoon, refusing to comment on the matter.
The phrase “Chinese fire drill” is best-known these days for the roadside game normally played by teenagers, but using “Chinese” to refer to a scene of confusion and incomprehension dates back
to World War I. According to NPR
: “After the two world wars, ‘Chinese’ continued to be used as a descriptor to indicate things that were hasty, cheap or amateur.”
The RCMP are apparently now investigating whether the councillor’s videotaped actions were a traffic violation.
It’s not the first run-in Whitman's had with RCMP, nor the first time his sloppy social media use has gotten the councillor into hot water.
Last winter he was ordered by Regional Council to make a public apology
after publishing “inappropriate tweets” about an RCMP officer. That was around
the same time Whitman appeared to casually reveal
confidential information while denigrating former CAO Richard Butts in a radio interview.