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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Letters to the Editor (part three)

The following are some of my letters to the editor over the past couple years. I have found, since submitting my first many years ago, that this is a means, one widely read, to express an opinion on events in the city and realms further afield. I fully encourage people to write letters to the editors of what some fondly consider our local rags, though don’t be surprised when they appear and are edited by the paper. In one letter I submitted the editor changed one word, eliminated one sentence and totally changed the context of what I was saying. 

Re: Empire days

As Nanaimo celebrates Empire days for the 141st time I have to wonder how many people actually think about what they are really celebrating. 
Even in Great Britain Empire is no longer celebrated.  Do we in Nanaimo really wish to commemorate one country imposing its will over others through conquest, colonization, subjugation and yes even extermination.  Can we accept this truth of Canada’s History? 
Imagine an occupation that brought with it genocide, in addition to cultural, institutional and systemic racism with which Aboriginal peoples as well as other Canadians still have to contend.  Do we wish to remain indifferent, trivializing and devaluing the contributions of virtually everyone not of British descent by celebrating Empire? Or would we rather acknowledge what First Nations and the many other cultures have contributed to the making of our City and Country.
If this was simply about celebrating Nanaimo’s history then we, like every other community in the former British Empire , would be placing the focus on our fair city, perhaps celebrating Nanaimo Days or even Snenymeux Days in honour of the first peoples of the land.
As the Peoples Participation Movement so eloquently puts it, "Parades are fun, Empires are not."

Re: Climate action dividend
In their most recent budget the Provincial Liberal Government of BC proposes that every British Columbian will receive a $100 Climate Action Dividend this June.  While this may be all well and good for those with an address, what about the estimated 10 – 15,000 homeless in the province?    Does the government propose to hit the streets and hand out $100 bills so that all will receive equal and fair treatment?  What about those on income assistance, will they receive the $100.00 just to have it clawed back by the Ministry of Employment and Income Assistance?
Interestingly enough it is the poor who have the least impact, in terms of environmental footprint, on climate change.   By doing nothing for those living in shelters or on the streets the government stands to save 1 – 1.5 million dollars.  I suggest, being somewhat fair to all, Campbell and his cronies distribute the cash to agencies that serve the homeless and those less fortunate in our communities. 
I for one, plan to donate my $100 cheque to the Nanaimo 7-10 Club Society and challenge others to do so as well.  In this way not only do those who will not receive the dividend benefit but we also increase the value of the $100 by the 29% equivalent in tax credits we would receive by using the $100 as a charitable donation.  If you wish to join me in this call (714 0917) or e-mail (

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