Nanaimo Daily News
March 28, 2013
I am writing you today to express my disappointment about a letter to the editor published Wednesday, March 27, in your online edition.
It is unfortunate the letter was published, particularly on a joyous day for the Snuneymuxw First Nation, which was celebrating the signing of a significant reconciliation agreement with the B.C. government.
It would not be productive to dissect the details, however, I believe the letter expressed ignorance and resentment.
While the writer has every right to express his opinion and your newspaper has every right to disseminate readers' views, I believe the negative tone and hurtful sentiments of this particular missive were demeaning, unwarranted, and untrue.
I commend your decision to remove the posting, and Division Manager Hugh Nicholson for his swift and courteous apology.
I believe that apology was rightly afforded to First Nations, to whom we as British Columbians, owe our respect.
Many people read this letter and their outrage was palpable and understandable. Words are powerful. But freedom of expression comes with responsibilities.
I thank you for hearing the voices of the concerned; the voices of Snunenymuxw Chief Doug White lll, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Stewart Phillip, Grand Chief of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, and the many others who called on The Nanaimo Daily News to recognize the true Canadian spirit of respect, consideration and humanity.
Ida Chong, FCGA
Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation