Letters of the week- Feb. 9

I agree with Mr. Chris Forbes in his comments on “ Deal with the present problems”....

Seniors more vital than street names

To the Editor,

Re: Deal with present problems, Letters, Jan. 26.

I agree with Mr. Chris Forbes in his comments on “ Deal with the present problems”.

What a waste of time and money to change the name of a street. I feel our Valley has priorities much more important, like the homeless, the hungry etc., and I would add our dear elders who have no place to go. Our seniors deserve much better.

We have homes for our seniors that are old and need a lot of repairs. We need a new modern facility for our seniors who are on a long waiting list to get a place where they will be looked after with respect, compassion and love. The staff of these facilities also need better working conditions for the seniors.

I am also disappointed with the opening of some marijuana stores with a licence from our city council. This is illegal, as it has not yet been approved by the federal government.

Why do the police close their eyes on this issue in our town, and why are the city councillors so lenient on this issue as well?

We have elected councillors and mayor expecting action for our priorities in this town.

Annette Hamel,

Port Alberni

 

Councillor had courage

To the Editor,

I must thank Chris Alemany for his awareness, conscience and efforts to have Neill Street renamed.

He stuck his neck out in the face of adversity. Thanks also to Sharie Minions for her support in this matter.

I am truly disappointed with city council’s 5–2 vote against renaming Neill Street. It was an opportunity to heal and show that Port Alberni wished to address the past wrong doings by A.W. Neill, M.P.

Other communities such as Cumberland have taken the lead. Cumberland’s former mayor, Bronco Moncrief pushed the provincial government to change the derogatory name of nearby “Jap Mountain” to “Nikkei Mountain” several years ago.

I am still hopeful that there is the possibility of renaming the school which bears this former MP’s name.

Locally, Canadians of Japanese descent who were living and working at McLeans Mill were evacuated during the Second World War. Our museum has acknowledged this history and developed an educational program to help children understand what these families went through.

On a personal note, my parents John and Mary Madokoro, and my brothers Ken and Bud were living in Tofino and suffered first-hand from the policies that Neill promoted towards Canadians of Japanese descent during the Second World War.

Marlene Mortensen,

Port Alberni

 

Vigilance needed with race relations

To the Editor,

Re: Vigil a sign we really need each other, Editorial, Feb. 2.

I respectfully disagree with the Alberni Valley News editorial suggestion that Port Alberni must “set aside our differences” when it comes to aboriginal race-relations.

We can’t afford to, for unfortunately this community’s perpetual racism is frightening enough to drive off at least one lovely young family (Racist graffiti drawn on family’s car, Jan. 31).

We need to face this issue straight on!

Fear expressed by city council that discussions of racism distract from and threaten other issues facing the community is rude and adds to the problem by minimizing the issue’s importance and typically relegating it (and, by association, First Nations) to second-class status.

We don’t need, as was suggested to city council, a “multi-cultural working group” which only further diminishes and dilutes First Nations issues.

Relations with First Nations people of Canada is not about the multitude of non-native cultures that have immigrated to Canada. It’s about a bi-lateral/ nation-to-nation relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal people of Canada.

What we need is a “truth and  reconciliation” working group to help formulate the appropriate processes so we can come together in spite of and to celebrate our differences, banishing racism towards First Nations and strengthening the whole community.

Liz Stonard,

Port Alberni