Letters July 10: It’s easier to talk than listen; tourist dollars can go somewhere else

Same words, but much different meaning

I love the letters to the editor. They are a diverse and telling cross-section of comments from the Capital Regional District and beyond.

On Friday, commenting about the recent destruction of the Capt. James Cook statue, a reader wrote: “The perpetrators must be made to apologize to our citizens and to pay for the repair costs.”

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Gosh, if these words were uttered by an Indigenous neighbour, they take on a whole different meaning.

Another reader, referencing the statue’s toppling, asked: “Who is going to stand up and fight back these atrocities?”

Once again, these words coming from the mouth of an Indigenous neighbour speak a different story. Same event, different shade.

It is easier to articulate what you think than it is to listen to how others are feeling.

The Cook statue was a thing and things can be replaced. I would suggest that it is time to stop talking about things and take time to listen to how our neighbours are feeling.

Mark R. Fetterly
Victoria

These tourist dollars will go elsewhere

Just a quick note to share that our family was very much looking forward to a planned week in Victoria this summer.

Or at least, we were until you cancelled Canada Day.

As a Canadian history major, I’ve always been well aware of the tragedy of residential schools and our abysmal legacy of relations with their first peoples.

But you can’t prosecute the past, or tear it down like a monument; only examine and learn from it.

And for a city of your genesis, a white middle-class bastion which itself has consistently provided meagre safe space and less funding for Indigenous or other disenfranchised groups, to spit on your national heritage in such a crass and self-serving manner is at best hypocritical and at worst treasonous.

We’ve shared this story broadly with our friends and contacts across social media, encouraging them to make the same choice, not only as proud Canadians but as tangible supporters of an equitable future for all Canadians — Indigenous, newcomers and multi-generational — that does not try and revise or revile history to make a cheap, tacky political statement.

In the meantime, we will instead take our tourism dollars this summer to a city that belongs in our itinerary — and our country.

Bradley Jones
Vancouver

They did not speak for the majority

The vandalism against the statue of Capt. James Cook in Victoria’s Inner Harbour serves no one, either Indigenous or non-Indigenous.

It is a violation of our history and part of the alarming new Canadian tendency to legislate social justice through cancel culture and intimidation.

As many have already pointed out, Cook and his explorations were a part of our mutual history. He was a navigator and discoverer who contributed tremendously to science and cartography and our knowledge of the Pacific Northwest.

The attempt to portray him as a colonialist is neither accurate nor worthy of such a great man.

We Canadians seem to be at a crossroads here. While there is nothing wrong with respectfully re-examining our history and remorsefully reassessing it, there is a great deal wrong with burning churches, advocating public vandalism and condoning violent attempts to revise our history through intimidation.

Cook contributed greatly to our knowledge not just of the Pacific Northwest, but to that of Australia and New Zealand as well. For these reasons, and importance of the rule of law, his statue should be restored.

Those who destroyed it do not speak for the majority, and they have no right to influence public policy through vandalism. Yes to the right to protest and to free speech. No to historical revisionism and violence.

Perry Foster
Duncan

A monument to historical revisionists

Following the mindless, stupid act of vandalism enacted on the causeway recently, I am moved to believe that if Capt. James Cook had identified as any other sort of person except a white male, the figure would still grace the Causeway.

The destruction of the statue should rightfully be declared a hate crime, as it would have been should Cook have identified as coming from one of the numerous minority groups.

Let’s leave the remains of the statue’s base just as it is as a symbol of the ignorance so prevalent amongst the historical revisionists that cowardly push their own view of the world and ignore the purposefulness, energy and courage of the human spirit that Cook represented.

David Smith
Victoria

Understand the hurt, accept the history

Re: “Remains of Cook statue draw mixed reaction on Inner Harbour,” July 8.

Destruction of our city and monuments and equally the denial of its history threatens our very existence. It sends us back to those times.

It is wrong to use vandalism as a tool to get our attention, but it is also wrong to not understand the hurt that drove that vandalism. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

World expansion happened and here we are today. Capt. James Cook was an explorer for England trying to beat other countries to this area.

Who got here first? Cook, claiming this island for England. If he didn’t, we would be under another country’s power today and who knows how they would have treated the Indigenous people? Would they then be tearing down a Spanish explorer’s statue? Like I said, history determined our country of today.

When are we going to learn that this is how it happened? How are we going to get along and be at peace with one another?

If you are not a member of the Indigenous Peoples in Canada and your forebears or yourself came here from somewhere else in the near or far past, then you must accept that being here on their traditional lands is a privilege that requires humbleness.

Showing respect doesn’t hurt anyone, and accepting history as it happened should be understood and the bad bits corrected where it should. We need to understand this! We are all in this together.

To understand the hurt that these people had to endure is to understand how we would all feel if our very own were targeted in the same manner. We would defend our families and that is what they are doing even those in the far past. Only natural.

So take heed and show some empathy so we can all go forward, for we don’t know what is coming next for humanity in this sudden change of direction for all of us.

E.C. Jewsbury
Saanich

Board of inquiry, not an apology

The graves recently detected on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School contain Canadian citizens who passed away in a facility regulated by the federal government.

The Indian Agent’s office was in Kamloops, less than five kilometres from the school. One must assume that details of the identity of the deceased and the circumstances of their passing would be known by the Indian Agent’s office within hours of the death.

I am not interested in an apology from the Pope. I want an independent board of inquiry to determine who these Canadian citizens were and how they died. The board of inquiry must have access to all the related federal files and the records of the school. The board could also question under oath any of the surviving parties involved.

With a full understanding of the facts surrounding the death and burial of these Canadians, we can then make informed decisions.

Earle Anthony
Oak Bay

Shelter conditions must be improved

Thank you to Willi Boepple for her informative article on the state of homeless shelters in Victoria, and on the resulting choices of some people not to stay in them.

In particular, surely clean water is owed to everyone. That it is not there at at least two of the shelters is totally unacceptable.

Please, City of Victoria, do something about this!

This harks back to the lack of clean water for the Indigenous populations. Outrageous that with all this talk of reconciliation, the Canadian government still has not provided it to all of them.

I certainly hope that some of the powers that be have read Willi’s commentary regarding the other issues, too.

Sheila Drew
Victoria

Apology to the Irish wins support

Finally a fellow Celt has broken the ice on the long-awaited apology coming to us. I, too, have suffered silently wondering how we have been passed over again, bringing those memories back afresh. The Irish are always the last on everyone’s list; surely a prime minister as handy with apologizing as Justin Trudeau could dole out some form of acknowledgment.

Further than that, I was tarnished throughout childhood for my carrot-toppedness. Scorned the ginger, surely this has earned an extra stipend having lived through those slings and arrows.

Perhaps this, among my many other faults, forced my parents to send me packing and earn my own keep and figure it out.

I now fear this embedded survival strategy will be passed on to my children, forcing them to live with a history they have had no choice in and will feel compelled to go out and make a living. The cycle continues.

So I’d like to thank my woke government in advance for the payment, if for nothing else than to help pay for all those I am presently paying for. Please send it soon before the colonists figure out they, too, were colonized.

Tim Murphy
Esquimalt

A feeling of loss after this year’s Canada Day

The events of this “Canada Day” have left me with a feeling of loss … loss for a city that has been my home for 45 years.

When police are afraid to uphold the law after witnessing the destruction of public assets and not arresting the criminals that destroy them, we are all in serious trouble.

Christopher Walker
Victoria

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