EDITORIAL: Words wound, but can also heal

Last week, the News published a story about the Greater Victoria school district’s implementation of SOGI, the sexual orientation and gender identity resource aimed to inform curriculum thereby supporting LGBTQ students. The week previous, we wrote about one local First Nations man’s quest to see an Indigenous Walk of Fame brought to Bastion Square.

A lot of opinions have surfaced regarding both communities, long oppressed and marginalized through complex systems designed to make them appear and feel inferior. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made reconciliation a priority for his term, and on Friday he travelled to Goose Bay, Newfoundland to make a formal apology to residential school survivors left out of former prime minister Stephen Harper’s apology in 2008.

Yesterday, members of the Canadian Armed Forces and other civil servants who were fired for being gay, also received an apology from the prime minster.

While no one is naive enough to think these statements right the wrongs of horrific practices in Canadian history, what these actions are doing is changing the course of that history and actively standing on the right side of it going forward.

Words matter.

The world is, sadly, tuned to the Twitter account of the president of the United States whose often outlandish 280-character rants have informed Americans in everything from their voting policies to their opinions of the media.

Our leaders are elected to set a precedent for how the rest of us should engage with the world around us. When Trudeau stands up and says that what happened to our Indigenous and LGBTQ communities was wrong, impressionable ears of all ages are listening.

There is no doubt a ton of work lies ahead to achieve equality for all Canadians. And, these apologies don’t change what happened. But, they make sure these events are not erased from history and they mark a decidedly different path forward.

As the saying goes: “Words are like weapons, they wound sometimes.” It’s true. But they can also heal.

Just Posted

Victoria Police looking for rightful owner of abandoned toolbox

VicPD found a toolbox full of tools on the side of a downtown Victoria street

Geography among factors behind Saanich’s place on worst intersection list

Site of McKenzie Interchange Project ranks as worst intersection on Vancouver Island

CRD commission votes against alternate Malahat route through watershed

Commission voted unanimously after several speakers at meeting

B.C. budget will have ‘very little impact’ on poverty, advocates say

New Child Opportunity Benefit and income assistance increases are too small for a large effect

Live like a tourist but save like a local this weekend in Greater Victoria

Be A Tourist in Your Own Hometown event is back Feb. 22 to 24 and March 1 to 3

Black Press readers share photos of their favourite critters on #LoveYourPetDay

Greater Victoria is raining cats and dogs…and snails and goats

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Wife remembers B.C. man killed in possible case of mistaken identity

Rex Gill was in Kamloops working to support his family after oilfield job dried up

Early morning shooting in Courtenay

Reporter at taped-off scene outside apartment complex

One dead, two seriously injured in Hwy 4 crash west of Port Alberni

A man has died following a single-vehicle collision west of Port Alberni… Continue reading

New report calls for regulated heroin sales to curb B.C.’s overdose problem

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Millennial men least likely to have a family doctor: Statistics Canada

Report found more women have primary care physicians, compared with men

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

70% of Canadians agree with mandatory vaccines for children: poll

The debate for pro and anti vaccinations has heated up after a measles outbreak in Vancouver

Most Read