Summerland’s mayor has clashed with store owner over Confederate flags before | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Summerland’s mayor has clashed with store owner over Confederate flags before

Summerland Mayor Toni Boot
Image Credit: YOUTUBE
July 23, 2020 - 1:01 PM

Summerland Mayor Toni Boot is being accused of bullying and harassing a local businessman who stocked Confederate bandanas in his store.

In fact, Your Dollar Store owner Allan Carter went so far as to ask Summerland RCMP to lay bullying and harassment charges against the mayor, Boot told today, July 23.

“I heard from RCMP Sgt. Dave Preston yesterday afternoon that there are no grounds for any charges and he has told Mr. Carter the file is closed,” Boot said.

Initially Carter wanted her charged with bullying but there is no such criminal charge, she said. Then Carter wanted an harassment charge laid, she said.

The conflict stems from an incident on Saturday when Boot, some friends — and a Global News crew — went into the dollar store, left with the store’s collection of Confederate bandanas and cut them up on the doorstep.

That followed an earlier incident where an Alberta man displayed a Confederate flag at an anti-racism parade on July 16. That, in turn was preceded by racist graffiti sprayed on a Summerland home and an incident in June where a Confederate flag was displayed in a window during another parade.

READ MORE: Racist vandalism in Okanagan town is the tip of the iceberg: Summerland Mayor

But, the history of conflict between Boot and Carter predates all these more recent events.

“This is not the first time I have spoken to the store about carrying this particular merchandise and how it is hateful and damaging,” Boot said. “So, here we go again.”

About three years ago, she and one of her friends, who was with her Saturday, went to Carter’s store and raised concerns about Confederate flags he was selling, she said.

“I spoke to staff and she spoke directly to Mr. Carter about the Confederate flag,” Boot said. “At that time, they were hanging from the ceiling with his other stock of flags. He said, yes I understand and I won’t sell them anymore. I won’t stock them.”

Carter, in a letter to the District of Summerland this week, explained why he had such merchandise in his store.

“In April and May we sold over 2,500 bandanas of various patterns and designs,” Carter wrote in his letter. “They were being used for making masks due to a shortage of personal protective equipment. They were not specifically ordered. I asked my supplier to send every bandana available in his inventory which included the ones in discussion. The confederate bandanas were not even available for sale when Toni entered the store on Saturday.”

Carter wrote that he was not in the store when Boot and her friends first arrived.

“Toni bullied one of my staff to call me to insist that I return to the store immediately as she stated ‘I am the mayor,’” the letter states. “She made them call a second time displaying extreme hostility, again announcing she was the mayor and abusing her power as such.”

The letter says one employee was stressed and unable to focus on her work for the rest of the day because of the incident.

It goes on to accuse Boot of simply staging a photo opportunity for the media and demands an apology.

Boot refused to discuss the specifics of Carter’s accusations.

“That’s one version of events,” she said. “It doesn’t necessarily align with what me and my friends experienced.”

She did not want to comment, in part, because the conflict is distracting from the issue of racism in Summerland that is going to be addressed with some community discussions on the issue that are in the process of being organized by municipal staff.

“If he had not chosen to sell the confederate flag, then none of this would have been of interest,” she said. “I really regret he has taken this stance, making him the victim.”

She has no regrets for any of the actions she has taken.

“I would not have done it differently,” Boot said. “I understand Mr. Carter thinks that what I have done could potentially impact his business profits and his reputation. But, I say back to Mr. Carter, who was it that made the decision to carry these flags? It wasn’t me. He’s decided he’s going to carry them again because people want them. That’s on you Mr. Carter.”

A copy of Carter’s letter is available under the Correspondence section of Monday’s council meeting, available here.

Carter did not respond to a request for an interview with

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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