by Harvey Oberfeld
March 27, 2023
Once upon a time, British Columbians (and in fact most enlightened Canadians) aspired to achieve equality for all of our people(s).
But not today.
We are now living in an era where the tail wags the dog: where relatively small groups of loud activists have so pressured and even intimidated our political “leaders”, community organizations, educators and our media that un-elected, protestors, pressure group minorities rule the roost.
They can block roads, bridges, events with impunity; demand the removal of historical statues: rewrite and even deny century-old achievements/truths; force university professors, deans and administrators to abandon truth, politicize curricula and kowtow to pressure groups … or resign their positions; and have so co-opted, frightened most of Canada’s media managers to just go along/push their activist narratives to the point that few “reporters” today dare to challenge the agitators or ask tough questions anymore of those who have surrendered to them.
And nothing exemplifies all this more than those boring, fatuous acknowledgements we now are forced to listen to at so many public meetings, cultural events, even sporting activities proclaiming that we are living, breathing, eating, drinking and playing hockey on the ancestral lands of some indigenous nation or nations.
It may have started as a unique tribute to our indigenous peoples on some special occasion; or more likely it was imposed by some ideologically driven left-leaning politicians; but let’s keep it real: it means little or nothing and just bores most of those now forced to hear it.
If there are pending land claims, property ownership disputes, zoning disagreements or political controversies surrounding any events taking place at any particular location, let them be settled in Court or by Parliament.
But there is absolutely no reason … other than the far left’s political correctness agenda, ever-expanding wokeism and white elitists’ self-loathing … to open public gatherings with an acknowledgment of old negative one-sided, and in some cases historically inaccurate or legally disputable grievances.
Kudos to West Vancouver and Mayor Mark Sager who finally said enough is enough, took a stand, and dropped reciting First Nations land acknowledgments at the beginning of civic meetings.
“At the start of West Van city council’s last meeting, Sager read the usual land acknowledgment that the meeting was being held on the “traditional ancestral and unceded territory of the S?wx?wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and the Musqueam Nation.” He said council had decided it would be the last time it was recited and instead the acknowledgment would be printed on the agenda,” the Vancouver Sun reported.
It was a start: a return to equality for ALL citizens, where NONE are singled out for special acknowledgement or consideration or status.
It’s about time other cities, organizations and sporting arenas etc. follow suit: equality should return to being our goal … not racial division, special status.
Of course, the Squamish band council was not amused …and sent Sager a letter saying the decision showed a lack of respect. (You can read the entire Sun article here: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/west-vancouver-land-acknowledgments.
In fact, if indigenous historical grievances warrant public reminders at public events these days, why not also include acknowledgements of the great wrongs done to Chinese immigrants/workers a hundred and fifty years ago, Japanese Canadians who had their rights and properties stolen during World War II, Jews who were turned away from Canada and returned to die in Europe at the hands of the Nazis in the 1940s, or the millions of women and gays who are still denied full basic human and democratic equality until this day!
Or why not acknowledge much more positive events and accomplishments in our history that have contributed much more to our lives, freedoms, and accomplishments as a society than the aboriginals ever have …
Like the brave European explorers who sailed off in tiny, cramped, stinking ships towards the edge of the world for weeks and months, not knowing that anything awaited them other than possible death;
Like the early settlers who suffered through incredible deprivation and hardships to establish the essential farms, villages and early communities in Canada;
Like the millions of immigrants from all over the world who came here with almost nothing (no government grants, funding or free housing) and built what has turned out to be a pretty good country;
Like our earlier “leaders” who actually stood for strong, moral principles (not just followed the polls) and who established a solid democratic society under the British Parliamentary system, built on solid social justice principles … with freedom of speech, a free media and free medical care for all; and,
Most of all, to the hundreds of thousands of Canadian veterans … from every race, colour, creed … who went overseas to defend our freedoms, our privileges and our principles, and returned maimed for life, physically or psychologically … or did not get to return at all.
THOSE are the Canadians we should acknowledge MUCH MORE at public meetings, gatherings, sporting activities.
But not even they would demand we do so at EVERY event!