Kelowna man says he was told to go home if he doesn't like it here

Not 'Canadian' enough?

A Kelowna man says he reached his limit Thursday morning after a passing comment at a 7-11 in Summerland sparked a racist remark.

Simon Theoret tells Castanet he is of French-Canadian descent and he's been living in Kelowna for 13 years, but an off-the-cuff remark while he was waiting in line at a convenience store was the last straw.

Theoret, who has an accent, was chatting in line when he remarked that this year's Canada Day celebrations were kind of boring because there was nothing to do. After he made the comment the person behind him, suggested if he didn't like it he should go back where he came from.

"I have to speak to feel racism but many people experience this every day," Theoret says. "Because I'm speaking with a different accent, I'm less Canadian than him?"

Theoret says this isn't the first time he's experienced hateful remarks, but he says with all the attention focused on racism due to the Black Lives Matter movement recently, he feels it is unacceptable.

"It doesn't matter, even if I wasn't from here, what gives them the right to tell me to go back where I came from because they disagree with something I said? I didn't mean any disrespect. I said five words and this person decided I wasn't Canadian based on my accent."

Theoret says just because he speaks English with a French accent just proves he speaks two languages, "it doesn't make me less Canadian. I tried to get over it but it's really frustrating."

Theoret says he has an established business in Kelowna and travels throughout the Okanagan for work, "the last thing I need is someone telling me to go home, this is my home."

Theoret says he isn't one to take offence easily but pointed out that if the person who told him "to go home" made their assessment based on his accent then he can only imagine how they react when they see people who are not white.

"There are some people who really like being Canadian and just because they have an accent or speak another language doesn't make them any less Canadian."

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