Trashing statues harms progress
Re: Manitoba premier says statues will be rebuilt (June 7)
As the author of Understanding First Nations: The Legacy of Canadian Colonialism, I feel it is understandable, but very unfortunate, that people have toppled statues, including Queen Victoria on the Manitoba legislative grounds, and that others demand toppling other statues and changing the names of buildings.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission did not recommend removing statues or changing names; our efforts should go into pressuring governments to implement the 84 of its recommendations that remain unfulfilled.
The TRC and others have begged Canadians to "learn their history." Queen Victoria had nothing directly to do with residential schools and most of the children who suffered in them did so under prime ministers Wilfrid Laurier, Robert Borden and Mackenzie King.
Attacking dead leaders is the opposite of reconciliation and is counterproductive to progress on real issues because it upsets the very people whose support is so desperately needed.
Rebuild better future
Re: Destructive by design (July 10)
Thank you to Melissa Martin for this article. I concur completely with her approach on how to understand the recent events that occurred on the Manitoba Legislative building grounds with respect to the statues of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth.
As she states, history cannot be undone, but we can collectively rebuild toward a future together. I support completely the TRC recommendations — any one of the 94 Calls to Action may be a constructive starting point. Readers can access the TRC work in a 274-page paperback entitled A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Also highly recommended is John Ralston Saul’s paperback The Comeback (2015) to gain a highly respected perspective of what has happened in our past.
Gary R. McEwen
Re: Harms to children ignored (Letter, July 9)
Hate and destruction will never be a positive thing. Toppling old monuments, burning churches or worse will not bring the children back. Near Olha, Man., is a beautiful monument for a mass grave of 43 Ukrainian immigrants, mainly children, who died there under horrible conditions. A big carved rock stands on the site, overlooking the lake, where one can reflect on the hardships we have inflicted on one another.
Let us remember these residential-school unmarked graves with memorials: big inscribed stones, sculptures, cairns or benches. Perhaps a big marker can make us think, reflect and try to improve humanity just a little step at a time.
Let us try not to hate others, as hate and destruction will never bring closure.
Scared into double dosing
Re: Premier: check your ego at the door (Opinion, July 7)
While I am generally loathe to give Premier Brian Pallister credit for much of anything, I think he deserves credit for how quickly Manitobans have hit the first and second dose vaccine milestones.
By allowing the second and third waves of COVID-19 to run rampant and thereby overwhelm our intensive care units, and by making news by airlifting dozens of patients to other provinces for medical care, I believe he terrified so many citizens that we all ran out and got our shots much faster than we might have otherwise, to ward off the fourth wave.
Without his decisions that allowed the last two waves to go to tsunami levels, I’m sure we all would have been much more complacent and the vaccine targets would still lie ahead of us. So, way to go, Brian. You scared us into double-dosing so much faster.
The premier is absolutely correct when he says no one will thank him. For reaching our vaccination targets early, there are any number of people who legitimately need our heartfelt thanks. Dr. Joss Reimer, Johanu Botha and countless people involved in staffing the vaccine super sites and other clinics are all heroes in this scenario. Thank goodness politicians with big egos did not interfere with their exemplary work.
Hydro rate hikes inadequate
Re: Province plans three years of 2.5% Hydro rate hikes (July 9)
Most, if not all, Manitobans are aware Hydro is carrying a massive debt. If it was not a Crown corporation, it would have long ago been forced into bankruptcy. Any rate increase that is not 100 per cent or greater does not even come close to what we should actually be paying. So, I’m not sure why Gloria Desorcy, executive director of the Consumers Association of Canada (Manitoba), is so concerned about a 2.5 per cent increase that she knows is not actually close to what it should be.
Genocide? Prove it
Re: A season of historical reckoning (Opinion, July 12).
Karine Duhamel and Adele Perry write: "This is a season of historical reckoning. There is more change to come. Working to reconcile Canada’s and Canadians’ complicity in genocide is an undertaking that should and that will fundamentally change Canada’s character but only if we learn the truths of the past and of the present, and if we refuse to be distracted and gaslighted into ignoring them."
Is asking for the evidence of this alleged genocide to be presented and examined in the context of the UN Convention on genocide and Canada’s own laws on genocide a distraction?
The Canadian Historical Association is free to believe there was a genocide in Canada, but they aren’t exempt from having to justify their conclusions, especially when historians such as the authors prescribe ambiguous and broad measures such as fundamentally changing Canada’s character on the basis of their conclusions. If this alleged genocide is the justification for remodelling Canada, is it not reasonable to challenge the validity of the claim of genocide, especially when there has been no trial and probably never will be?
Will everyone stop calling it "genocide"? The phrase was first used at the end of the Second World War during indictments of German war criminals. The Nazis were hellbent on eliminating the Jewish people of the world and all others that they deemed inferior.
Early Canadian immigrants had no reason to eliminate the inhabitants of the land. The residential school system failed on many fronts, but it was not genocide. Our forefathers did not want to eliminate Indigenous children. If so, all would have died.
Vaccine cards cheered
Re: Vaccine card offers possibilities to Manitobans (Editorial, June 22)
Yes! The card will allow businesses and venues to protect their staff and customers from the unvaccinated carriers of COVID-19. It provides a big incentive to get vaccinated if you want to go into businesses and restaurants and entertainment venues. It is a way other provinces can see that we Manitobans are double-vaccinated and doing our bit to return us all to "normal."
Now, if Manitoba Health/Shared Health could just find the information for the people lost in their system who aren’t able to get their card or QR code.
Barry A. Pask