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Province cans Aaron Ekman as chair of UNBC board of governors; alleging he made racist and hateful comments

Former B.C. Federation of Labour secretary-treasurer Aaron Ekman.
Aaron Ekman

Aaron Ekman has been removed from his position at chair of the University of Northern British Columbia’s board of governors.

“We have high standards for public appointees and racist and discriminatory comments from public appointments to post-secondary institutions will not be tolerated,” said Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, Anne Kang in a Tweet. “I am removing Aaron Ekman from his position.

“Our government and the University of Northern British Columbia are deeply committed to tackling racism and hate in all its forms,” she added.

Kang did not say what Ekman may have said that was racist or hateful. However, Ekman raised the ire of some online earlier today when he called out two MLAs for saying there has been an increase of anti-Semitism and bigotry in B.C.:

That resulted in several Twitter exchanges between Ekman and others online saying he should apologize. He asked what for:

Ekman tweeted that he had informed the province three months ago of his intent to resign, “but facts and details are low on the priority list for the @bcndp these days.”

And he is unrepentant:

The province appointed Ekman to the the board in May, 2018 and he was re-appointed in July of 2019 for a two-year term. Ekman was president of the Prince George and District Labour Council in 2009, and in 2011, was the founding president of the North Central Labour Council.

 He was elected secretary-treasurer of the BC Federation of Labour in 2014 and served two terms.

UNBC Board Vice-Chair, Andrew Robinson, will take on the role of interim chair, effective immediately and until the board convenes to elect a new chair.

“UNBC is firmly committed to the principles of equity, diversity and inclusion,” according to a post on its website. “The university community has come together frequently over the past year to confront and discuss issues of race, discrimination and systemic inequalities; comments that hinder those important conversations are contrary to the university’s values.”

The university will not comment further on the matter. 

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