Abbotsford Coun. Brenda Falk has come under fire for a meme she shared on her Facebook page that some people believe compares current COVID-19 restrictions to life in Nazi Germany.

Abbotsford Coun. Brenda Falk has come under fire for a meme she shared on her Facebook page that some people believe compares current COVID-19 restrictions to life in Nazi Germany.

Abbotsford councillor’s post about Nazi Germany puts her in hot water

Some believe shared meme compares COVID-19 restrictions to Nazi Germany, Falk resigns from slate

Abbotsford Coun. Brenda Falk created controversy online again this week, but the questionable content she shared has raised issues about the lack of clarity in the city’s code of responsible conduct for council members.

On Tuesday morning (May 18), Falk shared a meme of German student and anti-Nazi activist Sophie Scholl. The image included text stating, “Since all this started, I have barely worn a swastika at all. Only when I have to, to shop, work, or make others more comfortable.”

Scholl was convicted of high treason after it was discovered that she had been found distributing anti-war leaflets at her university. She was executed by guillotine for her crimes in 1943.

Falk originally included “Wise words for us all” with the photo. She then later edited her comment to include more context, stating, “She lived a quiet and peaceful life of strong conviction and was willing to pay the ultimate price for her convictions. How many of us are willing to do the same for our faith.”

The post sparked anger online, with many believing that she was using the message as a way to compare today’s current COVID-19 restrictions to life in Nazi Germany. Others supported her for speaking out “in defence of freedom.”

Falk is a member of the “End the Lockdowns” caucus and recently stated that she believes current lockdowns and restrictions are worse than the COVID-19 virus.

RELATED: Lockdowns more harmful than COVID, claims Abbotsford councillor who’s on hospital board

When asked by media about which restrictions she disagreed with, she was unable to offer an answer. B.C. has had less severe restrictions than other provinces, but restaurants have been unable to offer indoor dining since March 29. Falk is the owner of Tanglebank Gardens and Brambles Bistro in Abbotsford.

The News attempted for several days to get comments from Abbotsford Mayor Henry Braun, and he responded with a statement on Thursday evening.

“I understand the post made on social media by Brenda Falk is upsetting to some people,” he stated in an email. “These were comments made on a personal Facebook account and not shared on behalf of the City of Abbotsford. In this particular circumstance, a person’s personal comments and views remain outside of the City’s Code of Responsible Conduct for Council Members. As a result, how a situation like this is addressed is ultimately up to the elected official in question and residents of Abbotsford through the municipal election process.”

Falk has a personal Facebook page and an official City of Abbotsford councillor Facebook page. The last post on her official city account occurred on June 30, 2020.

The City of Abbotsford Code of Responsible Conduct for Council Members, which was created in 2019, can be found at abbotsford.civicweb.net/document/55288.

A section of the policy states that examples of “unacceptable conduct” include “use of disrespectful, derogatory, demeaning, defamatory, discriminatory, intolerant or offensive language at any time, and on any communication platform, including social media as a representative of the City.”

On Falk’s personal Facebook page, she is identified as a councillor for the city of Abbotsford and also has the city of Abbotsford tagged as one of her employers.

The News asked Braun and the city for clarification on why personal Facebook accounts do not fall under the code of conduct, but they have not yet replied to The News.

A B.C. councillor did face a review in March after posting a sexist meme on his personal Facebook page.

North Cowichan’s Tek Manhas posted a photo of an old man holding a cigarette and can of beer saying, “When your woman is acting up, just tell her ‘less bitchen’ more kitchen. Women love it when you rhyme.”

RELATED: B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Manhas later apologized for posting the meme and deleted it. The review later determined that Manhas did not violate the code of conduct, and city staff concluded that his apology and removal of the post was sufficient.

Pouce Coupe, B.C. Mayor Lorraine Michetti also faced criticism after she shared posts that many felt were racist and anti-Semitic. She had made a comment online comparing gun owners to Holocaust victims and also posted photos of a garbage-strewn lawn on Facebook and stated, “Don’t want Pipeline’s (sic)? They want to protect our land. Yeah ok”.

Many believed this was a racist reference to Indigenous pipeline opponents.

RELATED: Rural B.C. mayor urged to resign after Facebook post against Indigenous people, pipelines

Michetti later apologized for her social media activity, but refused to step down from her role.

Earlier this month, Abbotsford school trustee Phil Anderson temporarily stepped down from his position after he faced criticism for sharing a photo comparing wearing a mask to slavery on his Facebook page.

RELATED: Abbotsford trustee temporarily steps down after sharing post relating COVID masks to slavery

Anderson later deleted the post and apologized. He is now undergoing training to build a better understanding of the issues he posted about. Abbotsford board of education chair Stan Peterson stated they wanted to act swiftly.

“The Abbotsford board of education is fundamentally committed to providing a safe, equitable and inclusive environment for all our students, staff and families,” he said. “The board is strongly committed to anti-racism, and opposes hate in any form.”

Abbotsford School District communications manager Kayla Stuckart said the district does have an administrative procedure on social media, but it was Anderson’s decision to step down. Trustees are guided by their own policy – Board Policy 6 – Trustee Code of Conduct.

Falk also received backlash last summer when the Tanglebank Instagram account commented on a Black Lives Matter post by the Downtown Abbotsford Instagram account. Tanglebank stated that “All lives matter” and recommended that “people be treated the way you want to be treated and stop the BS.”

It was later revealed that it was Falk’s husband Arnold who made the comments. He was initially upset that his comments were deleted by Downtown Abbotsford, but then later apologized for his words.

Shortly after the controversy, a petition was launched calling for the resignation of Coun. Falk. The petition, which is still active, has collected 855 signatures.

It was announced Friday (May 21) that Falk offered her resignation May 12 from her role on the AbbotsfordFirst slate. She had been a member of the slate since 2014.

RELATED: Husband of Abbotsford Coun. Falk apologizes for ‘All Lives Matter’ comment

abbotsford

Just Posted

Volunteers Alex Cook, Ron Dashwood, and Bill Drysdale have been hard at work restoring the old Ladysmith train station. (Cole Schisler photo)
Train station restoration on track for future community open house

Community is asked to give feedback on what they think the best use is for the station

Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend organizer Connie Crocker. (Photo submitted)
Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend online June 19-21

Event’s been in the planning stages since February without knowing COVID implications

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley was passed up for a cabinet position by Premier John Horgan. (Photo submitted)
Op-Ed: Modernizing forestry and prioritizing reconciliation

Doug Routley writes on Fairy Creek and Central Walbran Valley old growth deferrals

The log retaining wall that supports the access road to the Ladysmith Community Marina is failing and needs to be replaced. (Cole Schisler photo)
Remediation work for community marina access road expected to be costly

A log retaining wall between the access road and the parking area is failing and must be replaced

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Ladysmith Harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water harbour, none of them threatening

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Stanley Fischer, right, died while in a Victoria police jail cell hours after he was arrested on Nov. 15, 1981. (Photo courtesy of Mark Fischer)
Victoria police not reopening investigation into man’s 1981 death while in custody

Stanley Fischer’s death was ruled a suicide after he was found in his jail cell

A search is underway for a 75-year-old fisherman who went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search continues for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

Canadian, U.S. Coast Guard searching for 75-year-old man reported missing Thursday evening

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

Bella Bella is on B.C.’s Central Coast, accessible only by air and ocean. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
B.C. provides $22 million for Heiltsuk development on Central Coast

Elders care home project, tourism, lumber mill supported

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

Seth Rogen’s vibrant orange sculpture was sold for $7,000 above Vancouver Art Gallery’s initial estimation at auction Tuesday. June 15. (Heffel Fine Arts)
Vase made by Seth Rogen sells for $12,000 at Vancouver auction

The B.C.-born comedian has a new pot habit and it’s paying off

BC Lions running back John White IV (3) runs with the ball during first quarter CFL football action against the Ottawa Redblacks in Ottawa on Saturday, September 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
BC Lions file trademark for new logo

Canadian Football League team files for new design on June 1

The remains of the Mid-Island Co-op in Whiskey Creek along the Alberni Highway on Friday, June 18, after a blaze the day before devastated the gas station. (Michael Briones photo)
VIDEO: Camper van explosion burns Vancouver Island gas station to the ground

Nine fire departments responded to the incident, no injuries reported

Most Read