LETTER: Response to Michelle Mungall’s Canada Day column

From reader Paul Van Caeseele

Re: On mixed feelings about flag and country ahead of Canada Day, June 30

I for one do not have mixed feelings on this issue. Our flag belongs to each and every citizen of this country. It’s meaning to each citizen is as varied as the 35 million inhabitants. Mungall herself believed it stood for “kindness and respect.” Another citizen blazing the flag off the back of a truck may see the flag as a symbol of freedom or individualism and for others, oppression. Two of my uncles risked their lives fighting Nazis under Canada’s previous flag the Union Jack for both Michelle and the truck driver to exist safely in a community of different viewpoints. The unease and “anger” towards people Michelle disagreed with belies the “kindness and respect” she says the flag represents.

The former MLA goes on to unload guilt on her ancestors for perceptions of racism towards our Indigenous population they may or may not have harboured. Maybe she is unaware of all the intermarriage back in the day. Not all settlers, and most likely few, were knuckle-dragging bigots. How do you think Métis folk came about? I am convinced the future can only be successful if we assimilate.

Western settlers and colonists were the last (so far) in a succession of conquerors of land across North and South America. I remember stories in school of the Indigenous tribes warring as did our ancestors. That western culture is the predominant way of life here now doesn’t have to mean good or bad. We live materially better than anyone in history, but with that comes apathy and selfishness, the low ebb of the Tytler Cycle.

Neither Michelle Mungall or any of us can apologize for the sins of our ancestors or feign guilt for their transgressions. If she still feels “ashamed and sad,” however, no one is stopping her from donating a part or all of her MLA retirement cheque to any Indigenous charity.

Paul Van Caeseele