I was deeply offended on Wednesday, May 11, at the possible name change for Powell River meeting at Evergreen Theatre when I witnessed a speaker list untruths claiming they were facts.
The most disturbing statement was regarding residential schools and suggested that children were lucky to have had an education. These meetings [“Working group for possible Powell River name change plans public engagement sessions,” April 6] should not be an arena to debate whether or not the atrocities that happened at residential schools really happened.
There are people who will choose to hold onto their beliefs regardless of the truth because those beliefs serve them in some way. Unfortunately I don’t see that changing any time soon.
But what I don’t understand is why the facilitators of these meetings are giving prejudice and racism a stage. The open mike process is borne from the western idea that free speech is paramount and that all opinions are equal, that having one’s voice heard is a right, regardless of the consequences of one’s words. This is deeply flawed and if these meetings continue, I feel that speakers’ words should be looked at ahead of time.
Opening up this topic to the public is causing hurt and anger and I am uncertain what it is accomplishing. As the May 11 meeting opened we were reminded that we all love this town, but love is not what is being fostered with this method.
City of Powell River Council needs to stop these meetings and make the decision they were asked to make. Energy, time and resources can instead be spent on educating our community on the history of Israel Powell and his involvement in residential schools.