Saint John Mayor Don Darling said the commissionaire, who is employed by the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires under a contract with a third party, “will no longer have a role with the city.” The Canadian Corps of Commissionaires has confirmed that the man will not be reassigned while the organization conducts an internal investigation.
However, the target of his racist comment did not want him to lose his job.
On Monday morning, the commissionaire drew up a ticket for Yamama Zein Alabdin, who was parked in a loading area. She tried to explain that she was unloading supplies for her Syrian restaurant, Mashawi Zein, on Germain Street and that she would be moving the car shortly, but he wrote her the $ 100 bill anyway.
As she continued to try to communicate with him in English and French, she said the commissionaire said, “Come back when you learn English” and left.
The incident gained attention after a witness spoke about it on social media.
On Tuesday evening, Zein Alabdin said she was upset that someone was losing their job because of what had happened to her.
“It is I who am touched and I forgive him,” she said in Arabic. “There are millions of unemployed people, I don’t want them to increase even by one because of me. ”
She said she started working in Saint John “to make the community better.”
“I feel conflicted and frustrated when someone loses their job because of me. ”
Mishelle Carson-Roy, co-owner of a store across the street, said she was nearby and overheard the exchange. She wrote a letter to the parking commission and posted it on Twitter because the city’s website was down due to a cyber attack. The tweet elicited a response from many, including Darling.
In an interview on Monday, Zein Alabdin said she didn’t expect people’s response to Carson-Roy’s letter and was grateful that the city had reversed the ticket. However, she said she did not want to see the commissionaire fired or punished.
“What happened has been shared everywhere, but I don’t want him to be hurt by it,” she said. “I came to Canada looking for safety and I don’t want to see anyone hurt.
The city requested the deletion
Saint John spokesperson Lisa Caissie said the city takes “acts of racism and discrimination very seriously.”
She said following an investigation opened Monday, the Parking Commission told the Canadian Corps of Commissionaires that the contract employee “can no longer perform his duties on behalf of the City of Saint John.”
The Corps has complied and is now conducting its own investigation, according to Bob Ferguson, chief executive of the New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island division. He said any further action would be decided by the results of this investigation.
“The Commissionaire’s comments are unacceptable in all respects,” he said in an email.