TC staff editorial:
No one could disagree with advancing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. But at the cost of erasing an important element in our history and burying the role that colonists played in building the province?
This need not be an either/or proposition. Both aspects of our enduring past can and should be accommodated.
And for the sake of tweaking the minister, if moving toward a low-carbon economy is really a key museum priority, why remove the Capt. Vancouver exhibit? He didn’t come by coal or diesel power, he came in that most clean-energy vessel, a wind-powered sailing ship.
It’s clear what has happened here. A minister with no prior experience in arts or culture simply swallowed whole a slate of priorities scripted for an election campaign, and imposed them willy-nilly on a captive board.
The government has gamely defended these changes by noting that extensive consultations were held beforehand. While there were indeed consultations, it must be noted that the vast majority of contributors were groups firmly aligned with the government’s thinking.
This was not so much an open consultation as a gathering of like-minded supporters.
Nevertheless, if the province is serious about letting the population as a whole have a say, the opportunity remains. Put the project on ice, hold a referendum and accept whatever emerges.
By all means ensure that in following this course the voices of Indigenous Peoples, who are necessarily a minority, should not be drowned out. There is room here for compromise.
But sadly, as it stands, compromise is the last thing the ministry and the board are interested in.
That a province with such a rich and varied history should set about erasing huge chunks of the past is factionalism at its most destructive.