Elder refused service
Discrimination complaint at local eatery

Terry Halifax
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 09/99) - A complaint of discrimination was quickly disputed by management of a local restaurant Monday.

Pauline Michel, a Councillor for the Lutsel K'e Dene Band said she was with her family at The Diner in Yellowknife recently, when she noticed an elderly man entered the eatery.

Michel said the family had invited the man to join them for lunch.

"We asked him to join us because we believed he was hungry," Michel said.

"The manager came up to our elder and told him rudely that he had to go."

"When I asked why, she said, 'He was bad for business,'" Michel stated.

"I told her you obviously have no respect for our elders," she continued. "It pisses me off to see that our fathers, mothers, and grandparents are treated like nobody."

"These non-aboriginal people don't realize whose land they're on and that our elders were here thousands of years and that we were here first," she said. "It's enough that we have to fight the GNWT, why do we have to deal with restaurants and stores."

Diner manager, Maureen Bernard, said the Diner's service policy has nothing to do with race or age.

She said the man who was refused service had been continually asked to leave because of public drunkenness.

"I wouldn't tolerate drunks in the bar, and I certainly wouldn't allow them in the restaurant," she said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's customer protection."

"Young or old, the law states, you're not allowed to be drunk in a public place," she said.