Princeton council candidate tackles accusations of racism

Luigi Gino Del-Ciotto‎ is one of 16 people vying for a spot on the Princeton City Council.

A Princeton man running for council is claiming a smear campaign is trying to ruin his chances, after several posts on Facebook have accused him of posting racially insensitive commentary.

Luigi Gino Del-Ciotto is one of 16 people vying for a spot on the four-person Princeton town council. He is a long-time community member that has an established history of commemorating his thoughts online.

In the last few weeks several screenshots of things he has written online have been shared on Facebook in Princeton. These screenshots have developed an ongoing commentary in town about Del-Ciotto and his suitability for a seat on council.

The accusations were reportedly posted on Facebook to show that Del-Ciotto is racist towards the First Nation community in Canada, but he claims their posts are a personal attack and simply a smear campaign.

“The people that started this are working together to smear me. I do not believe this is the right forum to be grinding your axes. People spreading assumptions and rumours such as this endanger people,” said Del-Ciotto.

“I have absolutely zero, zero dislike towards our First Nation people. My issues are with how things work. How our federal government handles things.”

In fact, Del-Ciotto first and foremost wants the community to know that his girlfriend and hopefully “soon-to-be” wife is First Nations, his business partner is Metis and he has numerous family members of Asian descent.

“I would stand and die for those people. I have zero racism,” he said.

Some of the social media commentary shared online included the following statements written by Del-Ciotto.

“They seem to think we will invade them or something if they act like functioning members of society. Cut them off and let mother nature select the strong that figure a way to survive and join the rest of the world or back to their ancient ways.”

“The inequalities in the laws and the unequal enforcement of laws that apply to everyone must stop in order to end true race separation in this country. This includes all race based legislation. We feel we have grown as a human race and believe that it is unnecessary to coddle any race with special treatment, money or benefits.”

Related: Vernon mayoral candidate takes heat for old ‘nazi’ comment

Related: Racism runs wild on social media after B.C. town’s bridge is damaged

Some of the other examples include comments he had made on a group called End Race Base Law, a group he said he had nothing to do with. One in particular was on a post regarding $165 million being spent to bring water to Manitoba’s reserves.

“How about we have a war over it,” he wrote. “I am starting to think this isn’t such a bad idea. All 37 million of us against your one million. Instead of having mercy we do it like the Americans did, or worse the Spanish.”

Many of the example posts are quite damning, and Del-Ciotto agrees that they come across as racist, but insists they are older and taken out of context.

“They do look bad out of context, 100 per cent, they have damaged my reputation,” asked Del-Ciotto.

“Hate crime is taking very seriously in Canada. These comments have been in the public domain for years, if I was committing a hate crime don’t you think there would be public record that I had been charged with such a crime? I owned my words, I left them up. If I had committed a hate crime I would have been investigated.”

He said his comments are taken out of context as you cannot see which posts or comments he was replying to, nor can you see that some of his replies were meant as sarcasm.

“In that one example [End Race Base Law] I was trying to point out that the person commenting was being ridiculous. I said 37 million against one million natives you would end up with a situation similar to the American or Spanish situation. I thought the suggestion of violence was ludicrous. My response was intended to show the ignorance of someone else.

“They had said some very inflammatory things. You only see my comments, I am the only one who has stood behind my words. Everyone else has removed their comments because they are probably embarrassed with that they said,” explained Del-Ciotto.

He said what he does believe is that the law needs to be applied equally to all people.

“In the end some First Nation people mistook my goal and what I was trying to do. I was definitely accused of being racist,” said Del-Ciotto.

“I do believe that the law needs to be applied equally to all people. I am of the personal belief that the Indian Act and many of the rules and regulations by our federal government in regards to our First Nations are creating race division within our country.”

At the end of it all, Del-Ciotto said he has regrets.

“I regret saying it because I did not realize that social media would turn the way it has turned,” added Del-Ciotto.

“I don’t have the ability to show what the other people were saying as their comments have been deleted and it leaves me in a position where all I can give you is my word.”

He also welcomes any community members who question his thoughts to reach out to him anytime.

“It is really unfortunate politics have gone down to this level,” he said. “Quite frankly I am sad for Princeton that we have to have this American-style type of politics enter our community.”

Related: Vernon mayoral candidate takes heat for old ‘nazi’ comment

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