February 19th, 2018

Columnist ‘personification of white privilege’

By Letter to the Editor on February 3, 2018.

Re: “So sorry, I am not sorry,” Jan. 22

What struck me about Mr. McLennan’s column was the absolute arrogance with which he espoused on matters about which he is blatantly ignorant. It would serve him to read and understand the Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which he claims gives him the freedom to spew ill-informed bigotry and vitriol. Negotiating specific values into a trade deal, offering an apology and restitution on behalf of Canadians, establishing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry are not partisan practices, they are not based on sentiment, or on one individual’s worldview. They are grounded in the Charter which “shapes our identity as a nation] — a nation of progress, protection, compassion and fairness.”

Mr. McLennan chooses to ignore “the hard truth of Canadian history.” How dare he diminish the generational pain and trauma brought about by residential schools as “past missteps in our efforts to educate and integrate our native communities.” Residential schools were established to “kill the indian in the child,” an effort to eradicate aboriginal culture. In his apology to First Nations in 2008 (during which he ‘shed real drama school tears’ too), Conservative PM Stephen Harper acknowledged the devastating and long-term harm residential schools caused to aboriginal peoples. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCpn1erz1y8). It’s ironic that his diatribe came just a day after the News celebrated the addition of Hatter Mark Sakamoto’s book “Forgiveness” to the CBC Canada Reads program. I suspect Mr. McLennan won’t be reading “Forgiveness.”

For his information, it was Conservative PM Brian Mulroney who apologized and offered redress to Japanese-Canadians. Another of his Conservative idols, Winston Churchill, stated, “those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” I suggest Canada is taking that lesson to heart by ensuring that our LGBTQ2 community does not endure prolonged discrimination, violence and fear, but are afforded the rights and freedoms the Charter promises to all Canadians.

Too bad about “every television program I watch now has its token LGBT representative.” I’m sure he could find “All in the Family” reruns online. I am loath to think about what First Nations, LGBTQ2, immigrants, refugees and other vulnerable people may have experienced in encounters with him during his time as an RCMP officer. He is the personification of white privilege, a bully in a position of power, too ignorant and arrogant to acknowledge the reality that for some people, Canada and people like him, are or have been “some kind of hole.”

Colette Smithers

Medicine Hat

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