Call it what it is
In last weeks feature article (Bringing ethnic diversity to the slopes, Pique March 24), Ralph Forsyth writes: "Until 1967, non-white immigration to Canada was suppressed, by a mechanism of place of origin preference. Because of these predilections our European cultural heritage remained predominant." In fact, the suppression of non-white immigrants to Canada was more than a predilection it was largely due to government and public support for systemic racist immigration policies.
That the term racism never enters into this article confuses me, particularly since Forsyth goes on to refer to our collective European cultural heritage. Certainly the many Canadians whose ancestors came from places other than Europe and those of First Nations descent would object to this statement.
While I appreciate the attempt that this article makes to address issues of ethnic diversity, I feel that the author's reluctance to speak accurately about issues related to racism within Canada undermines the strength of his article.
A series of unfortunate events
You might think that I am referring to our bad winter seasons, weather-wise or business-wise, but I am actually referring to a community thousands of miles away from us. I am talking about the community we are planning to adopt and establish our 20-year socio-economic relationship with, under the sister city program, the island of Nias.
It is still fresh in our memory how the news about the tsunami dominated the headlines and people all over Canada began sending their donations. Now, three months later, we haven't heard much about the rebuilding process and how people are coping with their everyday life and yet another big earthquake shook the island of Nias Monday, with the death toll reaching 300 people. No words can describe how devastating this disaster is to the life of the people there, and no explanations can be offered as to how such things can happen at the same place just three months apart. This time, the destruction was not widespread; Nias is the hardest hit in the whole area affected.
Since Mayor O'Reilly approached me last December and asked me to prepare a proposal to the council of Whistler for a sister city relationship with Nias island, I have made several contacts with the locals. The history of this island and its people is actually as remarkable as their endurance through a series of unfortunate events. The struggle to repeal the Dutch soldiers from the island, their conversion from their head-hunter lifestyle to a civilized society, their status as one of the poorest communities in Indonesia and now two of the biggest earthquakes recorded since 1900 hit their homeland.