Letters June 15: Who ran residential schools; build maritime museum on a ferry

Let’s move forward, not seek vengeance

Re: “Open the files on residential deaths,” editorial, June 11.

A Canadian-born senior, I grew up in southwestern Ontario. I never had an Indigenous friend, nor for that matter, a Black or Asian friend. I never had, nor created an opportunity for those sorts of friendships.

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I was briefly bullied as a youngster and, as a result, have tried to live a life where I looked out for those less fortunate than me.

It was not until a move to the Wet Coast 40 years ago that I interacted regularly with people that did not look like me, and 35 years as a teacher increased those opportunities for interaction.

I think Canada has treated Indigenous people abhorrently and continues to do so.

However, I wonder how an editor’s call that “heads had better roll” helps any form of “reconciliation”? Clearly the “truth” is out there and has been for decades. Apologies are warranted, compensation in our litigious society is assured, but where is the value in vengeance?

Our worth as a country and as a Canadian, multicultural community, will be based on where we go from here and not by how many heads roll.

An apology from the Pope is a box checked on a list, toppling statues and renaming streets is an exercise for bureaucrats, but fresh water for all Canadian communities strikes me as a real step forward.

Surely we want to move forward, don’t we?

Mark R. Fetterly,

Other denominations ran schools as well

Re: “Open the files on residential deaths,” editorial, June 11.

Above all else, we — both citizens and society — bear responsibility for the terrible legacy of the residential schools, of that there is no question.

And we must take action based on that responsibility; again that seems indisputable.

However, the editorial states that the International Criminal Court in the Hague “could find both the federal government and the Catholic Church guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity” for their roles in funding and administering the residential schools.

In 1931 there were 44 Roman Catholic, 21 Church of England, 13 United Church and two Presbyterian such schools.

These proportions were constant throughout the history of these schools.

How is it the Catholic Church is singled out from these other denominations, which were also in control of such schools?

How is it that the Times Colonist continues to single out the Catholic denomination on this issue, not only in this but in other editorials?

Kevin Gillese

We are selective in our outrage

Blockades and protests over the Coastal Gaslink and Trans Mountain pipelines, Fairy Creek old growth forests and Site C dam. Justifiable horror and indignation about the undocumented graves of ­Indigenous children at church-operated residential schools.

But a deafening silence from Victorians and our social leaders about the murder of Muslim Canadians and attacks on Asian Canadians.

Is it so much easier to blame historical figures, the Establishment and Big Business than to look in the mirror and admit that I am enabling hate crimes today?

Alan Humphries

Maritime museum belongs on a ferry

If the Maritime Museum board could obtain a small, decommissioned B.C. Ferries vessel, it could be docked in the Inner Harbour, where the submarine which displayed an interesting collection of marine life used to be located.

A ferry might even be donated for the purpose if appropriate arrangements and contacts could be established. Perhaps the Downtown Victoria Business Association, the Victoria Foundation and the provincial government would be of assistance.

The dock and ramp already exist in that location and would serve as walk-on entry to access the museum. Passenger decks would adequately house the museum collection, washrooms would be readily available, the restaurant could be set up as a unique eating spot as well as provide extra income, and the car deck could be enclosed to provide ample maintenance and storage space.

I’m sure that friends of the museum and skilled volunteer tradespeople would be excited to assist in renovating the passenger decks and lower decks to close off the car entries to arrange suitable areas for all the storage and maintenance.

This location in the Inner Harbour is an ideal location for the Maritime Museum and would become a major tourist attraction. It would be very accessible to passengers arriving from cruise ships and Inner Harbour ferries as well as complement the other tourist attractions already operating in the centre of town.

How many cities around the world would be able to claim to have such a unique location and presentation for a maritime museum?

Gerry Bell

Senior governments must back museum

There appears to be a groundswell of positive opinion that the Maritime Museum of British Columbia deserves a permanent home on the waterfront in downtown Victoria.

For this goal to be realized all levels of government need to sign on: municipal, provincial and federal. In the case of Victoria and B.C., at least, it seems a no brainer to support this project.

Why have we not yet had firm indications of support from government for this worthwhile project?

And who knows, but this is the type of attraction that will bring cruise ships and their passengers to our port.

David B. Collins

Which one was wearing the underwear?

The recent subheadline “Grizzly bear runs away from Quadra man in his underwear,” recalled the Groucho Marx quip: “Yesterday, I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got in my pyjamas I’ll never know.”

Mike Spence

Majority of voters are being left out

First it was Sir John A’s statue and now Canada Day! What’s next, burning the Canadian flag? Non-Indigenous citizens are also horrified about the discovery of children’s remains at old residential schools and the conditions on reserves, but most are also proud of our country, which is one of the best in the world.

Victoria council members have been ignoring the majority of voters on these issues and they will, hopefully, pay dearly at the polls.

Bill Henderson

What would you do late at night?

I’m sure we don’t know the whole story and maybe it’s none of our business, but the story of Chantel Moore’s death just won’t leave me.

Her boyfriend in Ontario contacted police for a wellness check because she’d been harassed, that’s the story we’ve been told.

Then a police officer knocks on her door in the middle of the night to check, not her health, her safeness. Sounds OK, if you’ve never been a young woman living alone.

There’s nothing that would have made me open the door late at night in a similar situation, and I’m Caucasian and have no reason, apparently, to fear the police, but I would have been terrified.

Even when someone knocks on my door now, many years since I was a young woman, late at night it scares me spitless. Maybe I read too many scary stories, but the truth is, young women aren’t always safe, even from the police.

I would not have opened the door or if I was given no choice, I would have had a knife.

Sharon Warren


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