Clearwater Times editorial by Stephanie Hagenaars

Clearwater Times editorial by Stephanie Hagenaars

Before we go patting ourselves on the back…

It’s been over a week since the United States Capitol was rushed by a large mob of people upset with outcome of the presidential election.

As many of us watched the Capitol siege unfold, eyes glued to our screens, the thought, “Glad I live in Canada” may have passed through some minds.

A post was even shared on a local Facebook group, which read, “Keep calm and thank God you’re a Canadian” in red and white. That post got 17 like and love reactions. But it was countered by another comment stating “Don’t kid yourself,” with mention of the protests that happened in Canada on that same day.

Indeed, before we go patting ourselves on the backs, we should consider that what happens in the States – and everywhere else for that matter – has, or is already, happening here.

A study just three years ago showed 82 per cent of visible minorities in B.C. have experienced prejudice or some form of discrimination.

The COVID-19 mortality rate is higher in neighbourhoods with more visible minorities, according to Statistics Canada, but B.C. isn’t collecting ethnicity data on positive cases and deaths.

The province is still negotiating land treaties with its First Nations groups and much of the land where we live and work is unceded territory.

A corridor along Highway 16 is famously known as the Highway of Tears because of many murders and disappearances, many of them Indigenous women. Many protests have been and still are fighting for justice for the missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

All of this in our own backyard.

So why is it when something tragic like the Capitol riot happens, we so quickly forget our own misdeeds, racism and discrimination?

Our political culture has become just as polarized as other countries around the world. No longer do our politicians in elected office reach across the aisle as much as they run attack ads and scream during question period. It wouldn’t take much to push someone over the edge. It feels we’re consistently running on a fight or flight setting as so many aspects of our lives are unknown.

This province is an amazing place to live, and Wells Gray Country is a beautiful backyard to explore. But as a community, we should look at ourselves and admit there are things that need to change — and work together to make it better.

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