Dear editor: I can only speak for myself, but I was born in 1969 and am now not sure what, if any, history I learned in school (Re: “No more excuses for an evil system,” Opinion, June 5).
The first I recall of any awareness of “colonial history” in plain view was when I lived in south Surrey and became aware of the Semiahmoo Reserve that was reached by car via 0 Avenue,
I believe, or a footbridge across a local river. I took Canadian history in college but even that is vague now.
Finding out about history through reading, sources online such as TikTok creators, etc., has led to a change in view of the country I was supposed to be proud, grateful and thankful, to live in.
I’ve learned through my own experiences that Canada is a harsh country, especially its governments. It was rough to be an immigrant; I know.
That this country was founded upon invasion and genocide is a bitter pill to swallow. It is time for the churches to repent of all of their part in these crimes and for governments to act – not merely give lip service.
I consider Pierre Trudeau and Jean Chretien to be the equivalent of war criminals and they, plus all prime ministers and premiers, need to have their guilt assessed even at this very late date.
Patrick Longworth, Penticton
Pope has apologized
DEAR EDITOR: I am a Kelowna resident and very regular reader of The Daily Courier newspaper. And I assume that like all honest newspapers, your goal is to present the true facts in an impartial manner.
In this regard, I take great exception to your pictorial editorial “Vow of Silence: Residential School Apology” which appeared in the June 5 edition of the newspaper.
The true facts of the matter are that the Pope has actually apologized for the residential school issue. In April 2009, the then Pope, Benedict XVI, met with Mr. Phil Fontaine who at that time was the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Canada.
After their meeting, a press release was issued by the Vatican on April 29, 2009, which stated in part: “Given the suffering that some Indigenous children experienced in the Canadian Residential School System, the Holy Father expressed his sorrow at the anguish caused by the deplorable conduct of some members of the Church and he offered his sympathy and prayerful solidarity.
His Holiness emphasized that acts of abuse cannot be tolerated in society.”
It appears that Mr. Fontaine was quite satisfied with this apology. In a letter also dated April 29, 2009, Mr. Fontaine stated: “Most Holy Father you have reinforced our belief in justice. You have strengthened our confidence in the nobility of the human soul.”
Both of these documents are available in their entirety on the Internet.
Bob Hobart, Kelowna
Is anybody surprised?
DEAR EDITOR: Canadian politicians at all levels have eloquently expressed horror and shock, with everybody saying how surprised they were to hear the sickening news about the remains of 215 children being discovered on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Let’s be very truthful, and state honestly and bluntly that politicians should not be surprised, and nor should anyone else living in Canada.
For many years Indigenous people have been telling heart-rending survivor stories about those horrible institutions to anyone willing to listen. Those stories often included details of siblings and schoolmates who simply disappeared. Sadly, not too many Canadians were willing to listen, and now they are expressing surprise.
A recent well-documented case in County Galway, Ireland, had 800 corpses of babies found in the septic tank of a former St. Mary’s Mother and Baby Home, but human bones were found by two young boys playing at the site in 1975.
When they reported the findings to their parents it was swept under the carpet by authorities, until an investigative reporter with the tenacity of a pit-bull got hold of it, and wouldn’t let go. She persisted for many years against the religious powers-that-be, until the septic tank was finally uncovered in 2017, thirty-two years later.
My wife and I sailed on deep-sea freighters and tankers for a combined total of over 40 years, and visited many ports in predominately Catholic countries, like Latin-America for example.
All those ports had one thing in common: grinding poverty brought about by the Catholic church’s contraception policies, which produced far too many mouths to feed, resulting in multitudes of small waifs dressed in rags begging on the docks.
It was more disturbing to look past these hungry little beggars, to invariably see a huge ornate cathedral on the hillside outside the port. These poor little creatures didn’t know that being born into such abject poverty may result in a life of crime, just to survive in so many cases.
Our Canadian government recently announced plans to develop a robotic roving vehicle for a moon landing in five years. That money can be better spent by governments immediately organizing ground penetrating radar to search the surroundings of all 139 former residential schools across Canada, and hopefully similar institutions in Latin-America and beyond.
We all need to adopt the pit-bull mentality of the aforementioned Irish reporter, as politicians are renowned for breaking promises while the Church of Rome’s often sordid and fractured history really reads like a horror story and is mired in two millennia of murder and mayhem.
Bernie Smith, Parksville
Quality vs. quantity
Dear editor: Who is asking the tough questions?
I find it odd that this paper claims to be the “council watchdog” yet always seems to shy away from asking the tough questions to city hall.
Council too doesn’t seem to be asking or having the difficult discussions about such things as controlling expenses. The 2020 SOFI (statement of financial information) report that was just released shows the top five city staffers’ base remuneration costs us taxpayers $1,000,800 compared to the top five in 2019 being $886,509.
Total payroll from 2018 to 2020 jumped from 23.6M to 25.2M. Don’t forget, 2020 was the year where every other industry and business saw their pay or hours reduced.
I don’t see much in the way of council demonstrating their attempts or holding staff accountable to strike the balance between the corporation’s needs and wants, with what the community would like to see or can afford.
The only public criticism I have of this current council is that there is only one member under the age of 60 (Campbell Watt).
According to 2016 census data 63% Penticton’s population is under the age of 60. Currently only one member on council can relate to and understand first-hand how the decisions made at city hall impacts the vast majority of our community.
That is one of the main reasons I like either Amelia Boultbee or Isaac Gilbert for council.
Both are young working professionals and have already demonstrated their passion for the position and community by participating on city committees. The community needs diversity on council. We want members that are at different stages of their careers, life, plus also have varying levels of enthusiasm and energy.
All those perspectives and experiences will form the foundation for the dialogue and debate that will shape what future direction the community heads towards.
I’m excited for the byelection and happy to see more quality versus quantity in terms of candidates. There are some very good candidates but there can only be one… so choose wisely.
One person can make a difference, so get out there and make your vote count.
Andrew Jakubeit, Penticton
BC targets wrong group
Dear editor: Regarding the old-growth, old-struggle situation on the coast: The tree saviours are protecting life; the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers are courting death, not only for themselves, but also for the rest of us.
So who does the B.C. government send the RCMP to get tough on? Not the defiant screaming COVID mobs, but the people who want to keep our natural heritage intact.
Arrest scores in the forest, but have only two cops in one car (safely at a distance), for example, at Kelowna’s many mass anti-rallies.
Katrine Conroy, speaking for the B.C. government, says the new forestry plan is bringing management “up to the 21st century;” while continuing to kill trees from past centuries.
Joy Lang, Penticton