WINNIPEG—A Winnipeg shopping mall has issued an apology to a decorated Manitoba war veteran and aboriginal elder who was told to get out last weekend.
Joseph Meconse, 74, said he and a friend sat down to tea in Portage Place’s food court on Saturday when a security guard approached him and told him he had half an hour before he would have to leave.
Meconse said he then went to get a plate of food and as he was eating, the guard returned and told him he had to leave immediately.
The incident prompted dozens of supporters to stage a rally in support of Meconse at the mall on Wednesday night.
On Thursday, general manager David Stone said he wanted to extend “our most sincere apologies” to a man “who has proudly served our country.”
He said the mall has decided to do away with its 30-minute food court time limit, “given that our many members of our community use (it) as a place to meet friends.”
Meconse joined the military at the age of 20 and served for a decade at posts in Germany and Cyprus.
When he eventually came home to work as a corrections officer, it was as a decorated soldier with a chest full of medals, and later he was made a member of the Order of Manitoba.
“It felt like I was degraded,” Meconse said Wednesday. “All the things I’ve done for the public, for our people, been in the armed forces, but this little guy (the guard) has no respect for anybody.
“We’re not animals (but) sometimes we’re treated like it.”