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

Terry Mazzei next to a truck after it was struck by lightning, with him inside, on Wednesday afternoon, June 9. He walked away from the incident without injury and the truck sustained only mild damage; a blown front tire and newly broken gas gauge. (Wendy Mazzei photo)
Nanoose Bay man walks away unscathed after lightning strike

VIDEO: ‘We like to think that his dad was watching over him’

This young fledgling white raven was spotted in the Coombs area on May 16. (Mike Yip photo)
Expert says 2 sets of parents producing rare white ravens in mid-Island area

One of the iconic birds is currently recovering at wildlife centre after being rescued

Flowers planted along Highway 19 in downtown Parksville. (Submitted photo)
City of Parksville plants more than 15,000 annual bedding plants

Residents encouraged to take flower photos and post to social media

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre. Offices will re-open to the general public on June 21. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville’s city hall offices to open again on June 21

Offices will resume pre-COVID hours of operation

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Most Read