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

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

An example of the forest land in the Port Renfrew and Fairy Creek area of Vancouver Island is shown on May 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jen Osborne
Old-growth logging opponents launch hunger strike as arrests continue at Fairy Creek

Zain Haq says the hunger strikers will gather today at Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver

Grade 12 students Sophia Kazakoff and Catherine Yuan accept QMS’s Stigma Free Designation award from Stigma-Free Society president, Andrea Paquette. (Submitted)
Duncan’s QMS earns ‘Stigma-Free’ designation

“No school in the province has accomplished what QMS did in such a short period of time”

“About a year after it was last used for a bottle drive, Lake Cowichan’s derelict Scout and Guide Hall came down Monday, June 6. Girl Guides have since moved into different churches and halls around the area. Town council has yet to decide what will be done with the now vacant town-owned site.” (Tyler Clarke/Lake Cowichan Gazette, June 8, 2011)
Flashback: A.B. Greenwell, Lady of the Lake, good and bad news for the Lake News

What was making headlines this week around Cowichan Lake in years gone by

Conner Gilkin, 5, shows of some of his newfound loot to buddy Jax Dul, 7, during the Lake Cowichan treasure hunt on Saturday, June 5. (Kevin Rothbauer/Gazette)
Weekly hunt has Lake Cowichan digging for treasure

Gold? Silver? Candy? Andrew Braye has stashed away a range of prizes for eager treasure hunters

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

Most Read