Critics speak out following councillor’s statement on signing letter

CHEK

Calls grow for condemnation and resignation following a statement released by Victoria councillor Susan Kim after she signed a letter questioning reports of sexual violence.

Kim’s name was found in an open letter calling for the resignation of parliament members for being “complicit” in the Hamas-Israel war.

Her signature quickly gained controversy due to a part that questions the validity of sexual violence reports committed during the Oct. 7 attack. Kim addressed the issue in a statement Monday.

“I regret how this matter has polarized our community,” the statement reads.

Kim has not responded to multiple requests from CHEK News for an on-camera comment.

The president of the Jewish Federation of Victoria & Vancouver Island wrote a letter to the mayor and council calling for her resignation.

“If she believed in the rights of survivors, why would she then not believe a survivor story? It doesn’t follow. On the one hand, she says she believes in survivors and believes in their stories, but in another country, to other people, she doesn’t believe those women,” said Sharon Fitch.

Fitch says Kim should have been more attentive before signing the letter.

“I feel that she has had no education about the history and the politics in that area, or she wouldn’t have said that,” said Fitch.

Coun. Marg Gardiner issued a public statement late Monday, shortly after Kim, calling on her to repudiate her statement and for the mayor and council to condemn it.

“I would hope that the mayor would put forward something about this. It is a major issue now in the city of Victoria,” said Gardiner.

In Kim’s letter, she admitted she signed the letter but didn’t directly apologize for it nor address the controversial sentence.

“I had hoped that councillor Kim’s statement would’ve included an apology, and I think that she needs to make that apology and recognize the harm of her words,” said Victoria-Beacon Hill MLA Grace Lore.

In her statement, Kim says she is not resigning. The only other politician who signed the letter — Hamilton MPP Sarah Jama — has removed her name from the letter, which has since been deleted.

The next Victoria council meeting is on Nov. 23.

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