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Prince George city councillor apologizes after calling people 'a bunch of losers'

Kyle Sampson says his comments weren't aimed at the city's 'vulnerable population'

Prince George city councillor Kyle Sampson issued a public apology on Monday for comments he made during a city council meeting on Feb. 7.

During a council discussion following a presentation by Prince George RCMP Supt. Shaun Wright on Feb. 7, Sampson commented on the ongoing crime issues in the city.

“It wouldn’t be a meeting with you without saying I think crime is crime,” Sampson said to Wright. “And I am really sick of these losers committing crime in our community. That is what they are, they’re a bunch of losers and they don’t deserve to have any empathy or sympathy given towards them. I hope that we can push the full force of the law on each and every one who commits crime in Prince George and make them feel as unwelcome as possible.”

The City of Prince George’s records and livestreams all city council meetings, and Sampson’s comments can be heard at the 1:32:55 mark in the video recording.

At the end of city council’s Feb. 28 meeting, Sampson issued a public apology for his earlier comments. That apology can be found online here and begins at the 2:12:35 timestamp of the video.

“I can see how my comments could be seen to target our vulnerable population and for that I am sincerely sorry. That was not my intention,” Sampson said. “I recognize I may have disappointed some and angered others by the use of my language and by the way I oversimplified a rather complex matter to ‘crime is crime.’”

Sampson said it was unfair to associate crime with the city’s downtown community “or those who are vulnerable, dehoused or struggling with poverty and living with mental health disorders.”

He has been a strong advocate for the Prince George RCMP’s Car 60 program which pairs mental health nurses with RCMP officers to respond to people having mental health emergencies, he added.

Sampson said he loves Prince George and his comments were the result of his frustration over the crime which has been an ongoing problem in the city. 

“Although my comments may not have reflected it… I have begun to understand the nuances of crime and the effects it can have on our diverse community,” Sampson said. “Again, I sincerely apologize to those who felt hurt or marginalized by my comments.”

'Disgusting language'

 

Sampson has faced backlash on social media for his comments.

“He’s been called out on Twitter numerous times over this quote and I have yet to see a response. I hope residents will continue to hold him accountable for his disgusting language, this is absolutely appalling. He needs to educate himself and apologize,” one commenter on a Prince George reddit thread said.

“Really unprofessional of Kyle to call them a bunch of losers,” another commenter said. “Most of these people are the results of our local MCFD, school district and mental health services letting them fall through the cracks. Admittedly if they're committing crime, they should be punished but everyone deserves compassion.”

 

“Look, I get being upset at crime in this town, particularly in the core. But this requires an apology. The lack of nuance here, while perhaps not surprising, is certainly disappointing,” a third said. “Speaking as someone who has worked with our downtown neighbours, I can say that they need compassion. And that needs to be modeled by our leaders.”

Some commenters made personal attacks against Sampson's character, while others on the thread agreed with Sampson’s stance on the issue.

“The reaction and response to my comments have been difficult, but necessary, to hear,” Sampson said on Monday.

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