Editorial: There’s a cost to setting things right

It’s sure to be a solemn time for many of those people taking part in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Victoria.

It’s sure to be a solemn time for many of those people taking part in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission today and tomorrow in Victoria.

The trauma inflicted by the 150-year legacy of Indian residential schools has shaped Canadian society as we know it. First Nations continue to have an uneasy relationship with the country they are born into. That won’t change after this weekend, or even once the commission finishes hearing from the 150,000 or so people expected to tell their stories across the country.

We might ask if it’s worth the pain to reopen old wounds and whether we’d all be better off by simply forgetting what happened.

In the 21st century it seems beyond the pale for people to treat each other the way earlier generations did. We are a society that prides itself on our tolerance, but the fact is, we are not that far removed from our past. The idea of forcing hegemony was a popular notion among many Canadians throughout our history.

Almost every ethnic group that was somehow alien to the mainstream has stories of attempted assimilation. In almost every case the process was a profound failure.

But it is the residential schools – their thoroughness and persistence – that has left the largest legacy of damage to a population that really should be at the core of who we are as a nation.

We can argue that many First Nations children benefited by the educational opportunities that our government and churches provided. They were given a chance at an industrial quality of life that their culture often eschewed.

As many as 3,000 people are expected to add their voices to the commission at the Victoria Conference Centre. Some will recall the kindness of teachers and others who really believed they were doing what was best for the children in their care. Others will reveal a depth of evil that provokes emotions that should be harder to stir from events that happened so long ago.

It’s time for Canadians to open ourselves to doing what will correct past mistakes. We need to celebrate cultures authorities once tried to destroy.

And we must be willing to put our money where our mouth is, whether that’s in treaty negotiations or respecting the rights of First Nations to have a stronger say on how their traditional lands are used.

Just Posted

VicPD seeks person of interest after short-term rental ransacked

Combined losses for damage and theft are over $5,000

Whitecaps favourite switches to the Island

Marcel de Jong worked to end Whitecaps contract, joining Pacific FC on the ground floor

RCMP ask for public’s help to determine cause of weekend fire

RCMP are investigating the cause of the South Island Concrete fire

UVic’s cutting-edge centre leading the way in drones and AI

Centre For Aerospace Research works with partners including Department of National Defence

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

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

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Most Read