Hearing Held Over Racism Complaint

Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 15:16



A man alleging he was kicked out of a hotel because he is Aboriginal says the incident brought back feelings he had when he attended residential school.


This morning, Les Tataquason testified at a Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal that two years ago John Pontes made him leave the Howard Johnson Inn restaurant, saying it was “not a friendship centre”.


Tataquason says the incident was humiliating and brought back the pain he felt when abused as a child in foster care and in residential schools.


Tataquason says it upset he and his wife so much, that it caused them to return to their old life of abusing drugs and alcohol.


Tataquason says he is still undergoing counselling to deal with his problems.


His lawyer is asking for $7,000 in compensation . . . but Tataquason says what he would have liked is to hear Pontes’ side of the story and have him take accountability for what he said.


Pontes is convinced the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal has already decided to rule against him — and chose not to attend today’s proceedings because he didn’t see the point of being in attendance.


Pontes says Tataquason’s wife was working at the time of the incident — and he kicked him out for distracting her while she was on the job.


Pontes also says anyone familiar with how he runs his establishment can vouch that he’s not a racist.