Donald Trump addresses a ceremony announcing a new hotel and condominium complex in Vancouver, British Columbia June 19, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Andy Clark)M
As Vancouverites are well aware, the Trump Tower has been a point of controversy in our city for some time.
Throughout the presidential election, Donald Trump spewed relentless misogynistic, bigoted, and xenophobic meanderings, reminiscent of that one terrible racist uncle we all have at Thanksgiving dinner -- but far more terrifying.
During his election campaign, the president-elect showed what he was made of -- and it wasn't pretty. He was found to have openly bragged about sexually assaulting women, while advocating for violent retaliation against his opponent and denouncing the democratic process as a whole.
He called for the mass deportation of ethnic and religious minorities. He told women who experience sexual harassment in their workplaces to "just quit." He seemed to gloat during the debates about not paying federal income taxes and bullied those who spoke out against him on Twitter.
He accused Mexicans of being rapists. He suggested that women who procure abortions should be criminally punished, but men should not. He denied climate change, chalking it up as a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese government. He called on Russia to commit espionage against his own government by hacking into his opponent's private e-mail servers. He also referred to pregnancy as an inconvenience to employers and suggested time and time again that women's value is limited only to their physical appearance. The list could go on... but I only have so much space.
In short, it is safe to say that Donald Trump is a terrible man who has terrible opinions.
Trump said the $360-million Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver, to be built be built by Holborn Group, will be an architectural wonder and worth the price. (Photo: Ben Nelms/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
And since his rise to the highest post of government, things have only gotten monumentally worse. Trump's successful election campaign has given a newfound sense of entitlement to white supremacist all over North America. On November 9, 2016 -- mere hours after Hillary Clinton conceded the election to her rival -- fully robed members of the Klu Klux Klan were seen celebrating during a 'victory parade' in North Carolina.
Former Klan imperial wizard David Duke declared Trump's electoral victory the "most exciting night of [his] life" and a great achievement for "his people." Anti-Semitic white supremacist posters calling on "white people" to "join the alt-right" have started to appear in Toronto and a rabbi's home in Ottawa was spray-painted with a swastika and the word "kike" in Ottawa.
These incidents are as unacceptable as they are jarring.
They have no place in a civilized society.
Quite simply, the values espoused by Donald Trump and his supporters do not align with the values that are held by the majority of Canadians -- and they certainly do not align with the values that are held by the vast majority of Vancouverites.
As Vancouverites, we cannot stand for this.
Our city is one that has been lauded for being diverse, inclusive, and progressive. Vancouver is innovative, socially conscious and aware. It is home to the ground-breaking InSite program and has been the home base for, and has led the march toward, LGBTQ rights in this country. It is a multicultural and proud.
Vancouver is home to the longest-serving female MP in Canadian history and is recognized as being one of the greenest eco-friendly cities in North America. And while Vancouver may not be perfect, it certainly does not reflect the hateful, racist and sexist platform that has been put forward by Donald Trump.
Bottom line: there is no room for Trump in our city and his name should be removed from our skyline.
Protests against the Trump Tower have been ongoing since the president-elect has shown himself to be a repugnant demagogue.
In May, a Mexican labourer, working on the Trump Tower, erected a Mexican flag, which flew from the top floor of the project, in protest against the racist hate speech that Trump had perpetrated against his people.
Vancouver skyline. (Photo: George Rose/Getty Images)
Demonstrations have continued outside the building. Earlier this year, Mayor Gregor Robertson even wrote the developer, the Holborn Group, expressing his concerns about the hate-mongering moguls' name being displayed on the development.
But it has not had an effect. The Holborn Group does not seem to care what we, the residents of Vancouver, think. It intends to move forward as planned. It sees profit in using the Trump brand in order to sell its product.
In a recent interview, Joo Kim Tiah, CEO for the Holborn Group, defended his position. He cited "enormous financial and legal ramifications" if the group were to end its relationship with Trump as the main motivating factor behind it. He further stated that he believes that Trump isn't so bad, and that the media treated him unfairly by representing him in an unflattering light throughout the election campaign. Describing the president-elect as "honourable" and "humble", Tiah seemed to be talking about someone entirely different than the man we have all come to know as Donald Trump.
The fact is, Donald Trump is not honourable. He is not humble. And he has no place in here.
Continuing to support Donald Trump sends a clear message that sexist, racist, xenophobic behaviour is acceptable and rewarded in our city.
As Vancouverites, we cannot stand for this.
We should find inspiration in residents of New York City. Earlier this month, they successfully petitioned to have the real estate tycoon's name removed from three luxury apartment buildings in Manhattan. They stood up and said that Trump's conduct is not welcome in their city.
We must do the same.
The Trump Tower is slated for its grand opening ceremony in January of next year.
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