Okanagan Jewish Community
102 - 1 N. Glenmore Road
Kelowna, B.C. V1V 2E2
Tel: (604) 862-2305
Fax: (604) 860-4982
Our File No. 980003.001
May 19, 1998
Linda Larson, Mayor of Oliver
and Oliver Town Council
35016 - 97" Street
Re: Bernard Klatt and others - Conference Scheduled March 21, 1998
I am writing to you in my capacity as a member and spokesperson for the Okanagan Jewish Community on anti-racism and anti-hate matters. Please accept my congratulations to yourself and city council for canceling the booking of your Community Hall by Bernard Klatt and others scheduled for March 21, 1998. While you had not heard from me prior thereto, please be assured that I, as well as the entire Jewish Community in the Okanagan Valley, had been tracking the progress of this matter very closely.
It is clear that you have from your own resources and consideration, come to the conclusion that if allowed, hate[?] groups and individuals carrying messages of hate[?], will take up residence for their activities where they are permitted to do so.[Mayor Larson is not known to have made any such statements] Worse, once an area has been identified by them as "friendly" or permissive of their activities, those activities always increase.
My sincere congratulations to you and your council for coming to this realization and acting accordingly.[Neither Council or the Mayor have admitted to any such 'realization'] I am prompted to write to you at this time because I see from your involvement in conferences on the subject, that you are interested in sharing your experiences, and what you have learned therefrom, with others - to similarly discourage, and hopefully eventually educate others to prevent, providing a residence for these [alledged]hate groups.
I attended the recent community consultation for the Advisory Council on Multiculturalism as did you, although I regret did not have the opportunity to introduce myself to you. I note from your involvement in the Justice Institute conference on "Dealing with Hate" in April, 1998, that you will be familiar with the "Not In Our Town" video from Billings, Montana, where another community successfully dealt with the issues the same way. I personally learned the same formula for success, notably a coalescing of the community through its leadership (elected, police, media, religious and community leaders), from personal experience in dealing with organized hate[?] groups and their high profile individuals. Having taken a first positive step, I'm sure it was very gratifying for you to see BC Tel follow suit in discouraging Mr. Klatt from continuing as the hate[?] Internet provider. [A slanderous characterization of our business. What action by BC Tel is he referring to? ISP contract wording changes?]
One would love to see Oliver, B.C. become known for exactly the opposite of what had been alleged [by Sol Littman] in recent months, and you are to be congratulated for taking the necessary decisions to put that process in motion. One pro-active step which a community can of course take to put racist and hate[?] groups on notice that this is not friendly territory for them, and secondly, more importantly to foster positive values in the community, is a community conference such as the "Human Dignity Symposium" which took place the weekend of March 27 and 28, 1998 at the Okanagan University College in Kelowna, organized by the Multicultural Society of Kelowna. I am enclosing a schedule from that weekend's conference for your interest. I know that you are well familiar with the resources such as the Multicultural ministries of government, the AntiHate Crime Team from Vancouver, the British Columbia Teachers Federation representative and materials, and others. I am writing also to confirm that I would be happy to provide my services to assist, in participating with such a symposium in your community, or alternatively with council and other community leaders, to provide whatever co-operation or assistance possible to yourself and Oliver, B.C. in attaining and keeping the positive profile which it surely deserves.