Fisheries & Fish Industry

Outrage, apology over fishing hut ad that says 'status card users' not welcome

Outrage, apology over fishing hut ad that says 'status card users' not welcome

An online ad for ice hut rentals in Northern Ontario has drawn complaints of racism, and an apology, after the business owner wrote “status card users” are not welcome.

IceHutRentals.ca posted an ad on classified site Kijiji.ca offering sleeper huts for ice fishing on Lake Nipissing in North Bay. Part of the ad read: “Please no status card users! You are not welcome in our huts. Equality for all or you will not get the time of day from us and will lose any deposit paid to us.”

Lindsay Sarazin of Golden Lake First Nation, who told CTV Northern Ontario that he “didn’t really like the way it was written,” shared the ad on his Facebook page.

Others echoed his frustration with the advertisement, which has since been taken down from Kijiji.

“It’s 2017, and racism exists all over the world,” Sarazin said.

In a Facebook post, a man who identified himself as the CEO of IceHutRentals.ca issued an apology to “Local Native Canadians.”

“We sincerelly (sic) apologize from the bottom of our hearts for the confusion and thusly hurtful feelings that may have resulted from our poorly worded kijiji ad. Our ad was not ment (sic) to imply you are not welcome at our huts. Everything is welcome at our huts on Sunset Point, Lake Nipissing. While in our huts we kindly ask you to obey the house rules. Everyone in our huts is to fish under one set of rules and regulations. You may still fish with us as long as Ontario 2017 fishing regulations are followed.”

Under Ontario law, a valid fishing licence is required to catch fish. However, members of Aboriginal communities generally do not require an Ontario fishing licence “when fishing for food, social or ceremonial purposes within their traditional or treaty territory.”

Sarazin said he knows the fisheries rules and regulations are a “big issue” in his community.

“I just pray and ask for both parties First Nations and non-First Nations people, to keep an open mind in this discussion,” he said. “Don’t just grab your torch and pitchfork and burn everybody down. I want people to go in with thought and care.”

Sarazin’s Facebook post nevertheless prompted dozen of responses. In one comment, Maggie Dodd White Eagle wrote: “Put this guy out of business. Nobody needs this.” Another commenter with the same surname as the purported business owner wrote that sharing the name was a “true embarrassment.

“I have many close friends who are from first nation communities. Sure glad your (sic) not a direct relation. Think before you put your foot in your mouth.”

The phone number included in the ad’s contact information is no longer in service.

With files from CTV Northern Ontario’s Joey Slattery

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