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Store owner in Port Dover, Ont. pulls Confederate flag hats saying she is sorry | CBC News

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The owner of Route 6 Steel Horse Boutique in Port Dover, Ont. has pulled Confederate flag ball caps from stores shelves and is issuing an apology for pain inflicted.

Store owner, Jayne Laidlaw, sent CBC News a written statement Wednesday after the Oxford Caribbean Canadian Association (OCCA) expressed anger that the merchandise was for sale.

“I’m deeply saddened if I’ve caused offense to anyone and for that I apologize sincerely,” she wrote. 

Laidlaw said that two hats were left over from the previous owner, and have since been discarded. She named the previous owner as a “Johnny Rebel”. 

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That was the name given to Confederate soldiers who fought to maintain the enslavement of Black people in the United States. They were referred to as Rebels or “Johnny Rebel”.

Earlier this week, a high school in Windsor changed the name of its mascot – known as the Rebels – because of the connection to pro-enslavement

The Confederate flag, meantime, was flown during the U.S. Civil War, and has since become associated with white supremacist groups.

The Oxford Caribbean Canadian Association (OCCA) says the Confederate symbol represents “horrors” that are still felt today and were “angry” by the sales of the cap. 

“We are angry and saddened as the Confederate flag — a symbol of the American Civil War — represents the fight to maintain slavery as a social and economic structure,” the OCCA said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. 

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“The transatlantic slave trade and the systems it brought about were horrors whose effects reverberate in our community to this day.”

Earlier this year, some members of the Black community in London raised concerns that a Confederate flag — with its blue cross and white stars over a red background — was flying prominently on a rural property south of Highway 402. The flag was taken down not long after the homeowner was questioned about it by CBC News. 

“The true meaning of that flag, no matter how some people view it as a symbol of regional pride or a rebellion against certain governance, is contingent on the oppression of other people to make it so,” OCCA said.

“We are clear and united in our opposition of its commercialization and of its display without full and factual historical context.”

Laidlaw did not respond to further questions from CBC News. 

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