B'Nai Brith honours North Bay mayor for standing up to racism

B'Nai Brith Canada presented North Bay Mayor Al McDonald with a certificate of merit Tuesday morning, honouring him for standing up to racism.

Last fall, students at École Secondaire Catholique Algonquin we're seen giving a Nazi salute. McDonald reacted immediately and said, "Hate has no home here."

McDonald told CTV News the whole city deserves the recognition.

"If didn't use my voice to speak out against hate and racism, then shame on me," he said.

"But let's not forget the Police Chief, Scott Tod who spoke out, as did members of council. So I'm very proud of my city and this award really is for them."

Officials with B'Nai Brith Canada said they hope an incident like the one in North Bay doesn't happen again, but said the way North Bay reacted goes a long way toward healing.

"People were concerned, people in North Bay genuinely cared," said Marvin Rotrand, national director, league for human rights with B'Nai Brith Canada. "They wanted to make sure the kids knew what they had actually done and the impact on that."

"Within days the community mobilized, the police launched an investigation, the school board worked with the students and staff and said we want the whole community to know we take this seriously and lots of citizens spoke out."

A recent motion at council also means North Bay will recognize Jewish Heritage Month every year in May.