Simms controversy not dying down

Derek Montague
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Bart Jack, of Sheshatshiu, wants to see Randy Simms kicked off his radio show. He says he's in the early stages of making a formal complaint to the CRTC.

It's hard to talk about the caribou hunt controversy, without mentioning the spat between Randy Simms and Simeon Tshakapesh on Simms' VOCM open line radio show.

Simms was clearly angry that the Innu leaders wouldn't agree to the province's five-year ban on caribou hunting. So, when Tshakapesh got on the air, Simms immediately called him stupid. The conversation deteriorated from there, with Tshakapesh calling Simms a racist, and Simms calling Tshakapesh an "arsehole", before the call was disconnected.

Simms apologized the next day on his show, but many were still outraged over Simms' actions. Around Labrador, opinions have been strong about the incident.

"I think Randy could have handled it a little better. I agree that he was right in thinking that the hunt shouldn't go ahead, but I think he should have handled it with a little more maturity and professionalism," says Happy Valley-Goose Bay resident Vicki Cull.

"He should show a little more respect. Everybody deserves respect, I don't think anyone should go around calling other people stupid," says another resident, George Davis.

While many have been critical about Simms' choice of words with Simeon Tshakapesh, others agree with what he said.

"Right on the money...call a spade a spade," said another Goose Bay resident.

Even though people like Vicki Cull and George Davis disagree with how Simms acted, they don't agree with Tshakapesh's accusation that Simms is a racist, either.

" I think this racist card is played way too easily. As soon as you don't agree with some cultural stuff, especially in this neck of the woods, you get charged with being a racist...it makes no sense," says Davis

"I think he would call anybody stupid. I think he's rude enough to do that. I don't think it was a racist comment," says Cull.

Some Labradorians have taken their anger over Simms' comments to the next level.

Sheshatshiu resident Bart Jack also feels strongly about the incident. He has started the process of making a complaint against VOCM and Randy Simms to the CRTC.

"I felt that as a mayor, first of all, and as a broadcaster, he should be able (to show more respect)," says Jack. "The CRTC should step in...I would like to see Mr. Simms expelled and kicked off the air."

Not long after the incident occurred, Jack called Simms' open line show and let Simms know what he planned to do.

"I think it crossed the line...I was compelled to call," says Jack.

Bart said the incident between Simms and Tshakapesh has created strong emotions in Sheshatshiu and Natuashish.

"I see a lot of anger, I see a lot of frustration," says Jack.

Randy Simms declined an interview request.

Organizations: CRTC

Geographic location: Goose Bay, Labrador, Happy Valley Sheshatshiu

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  • Jim Nui
    February 24, 2013 - 08:28

    Many thanks to the caribou ban … this has actually awaken the inner souls of followers of the Randy Simms’s meltdown, up and down the coast of Torngat Mountains … numerous NG membership have actually begun their “put-downs” and “talk-downs” on the Natuashish Innu for their stands against their ban not long after the famous name calling on VOCM … labeling the Innu Stand as “RACIST” (for not supporting their conversation stands); “DISRESPECTFUL (to wild animals and their unfounded view of continuation of their views as though the Innu are hunting to kill off the remaining number) … “BAD GUYS” (as they want the society to view them as the group of Aboriginal Hunters that have attempt to save the caribou) … From Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville, Rigolet, and from NG membership from HVGB … these views were posted on facebook … and at numerous times … I answered our critics as accepting their labels and wearing them proudly … and for our continuation of our opposition to the Caribou Ban. Jim Nui Natuashish, NL