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Coun. Wyness apologizes for protest public hearing tweet

Calgary Ward 2 Coun. Jennifer Wyness issued a statement Wednesday evening, saying she recognized the impact of her recent tweets.

Wyness was heavily criticized for a social media post where she suggested a public hearing process for Beltline protesters “similar to what was offered to BLM protesters.”

A portion of the tweet thread from Coun. Jennifer Wyness. TWITTER

Many interpreted that as a moral equivalency, and it prompted a strong rebuke from fellow Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra.

Wyness told the media prior to the Tuesday special meeting that she wanted to find a way to de-escalate the Beltline conflict.

“It’s really easy to represent people that agree with you. But it’s a lot harder when you don’t agree with the people,” she said.  

“And this is where we really have to dig deep as a council and find a solution through this problem.”

Her tweet lingered in comments from Carra in Tuesday’s meeting. Carra took issue with the creation of a special public engagement for protesters.

“Honestly, I think that this is a waste of our time and that you have to think about the fact that many, many, many Calgarians, who you should respect have called for you to apologize for that false equivocation and we haven’t heard it,” he said.

“And so, I’m just going to say that this is a colossal waste of time. Please in your close, withdraw this motion, and at very least apologize for making that equivocation because it is offensive.”

After Wyness withdrew her notice of motion and the meeting ended, she was seen inside council chambers talking with Heather Campbell. Campbell has been a staunch advocate for the elimination of racism in Calgary and also sits on the Calgary Police Commission.

Goal is resolution, said Wyness

Wyness’s statement, seen in full below, apologized to Calgary’s BIPOC communities.

“My intent was not to create a comparison between the ongoing ‘freedom’ gatherings in the Beltline with the anti-racism protests over the summer of 2020,” she wrote.

“My goal was, and continues to be, to work with community members to find ways to resolve the conflict in the Beltline. However, I failed to clearly communicate that.”

Wyness, a first-term councillor, said it was a learning opportunity.

She asked Calgarians to pause and remember how we’re all connected to one another.

Wyness reiterated a plea for protesters not to come down to the Beltline on Saturday.

“Instead, help your neighbours de-escalate the situation and create a safe Calgary for everyone,” she wrote.

Her apology received a quick tweet of support from Campbell.