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OPINION: Chilliwack Fair’s display of tank crushing cars deemed ‘insensitive’ in light of Ukraine war

Chilliwack has a proud military history but military tanks shouldn’t be crushing civilian vehicles
A Chilliwack Military Education Centre tank crushing cars is scheduled to be on display at the Chilliwack Fair on all three days, Aug. 5, 6 and 7, 2022. (Chilliwack Fair Facebook)

The 150th Chilliwack Fair is this weekend with a huge lineup of events and entertainment from traditional agriculture displays and the rodeo to the Chilliwack Model Railway Club to Vancouver Circus School and much more.

One demonstration, however, is causing some distress and could be potentially upsetting for some people.

As part of the ongoing outdoor activities, the Chilliwack Military Education Centre (CMEC) is scheduled to have a number of military vehicles on display, including a working tank.

“Check out the damage this massive tank can do all weekend long!” according to a post on the Fair’s website. “You might even get a chance to take a ride in it.”

When Tamiko Charlton saw an image on the Chilliwack Fair’s Facebook page of a military tank on top of two cars, she said it actually made her cry.

“Glorification of what a tank can do to a civilian vehicle has got me in tears. I can’t believe in this day and age how they could think this is OK,” Charlton told The Progress.

Charlton is hosting three young Ukrainians who fled the Russian invasion to come and work in B.C.

READ MORE: Three young Ukrainians land in Chilliwack ready to work

A widely viewed video on YouTube from the war in Ukraine shows a tank-like vehicle, a surface-to-air missile system actually, driving right over top a car with someone inside. (The video goes on to show people rescue the person, who miraculously survived.)

“Tanks are not supposed to crush civilian vehicles,” Charlton said. “Maybe Russian tanks, but why glorify it?”

Chilliwack citizen Bradley Gionet also expressed dismay at the tank demonstration on social media.

“As a community that is housing dozens of people displaced by the war on Ukraine, as well as refugees from Afghanistan and Syria, this is completely distasteful and insensitive,” he posted on the Chilliwack Fair’s Facebook page.

Someone from the fair responded: “Yes, the fair is primarily agriculture but it is also entertainment and family activities. We are always (looking) for fun and exciting ideas, feel free to send us an email or DM with comments or suggestions.”

Others commenting on social media said they didn’t have a problem with the planned tank display.

One person said that people should remember that Chilliwack is not just built on its agricultural roots but has a long military history with CFB Chilliwack.

Others agree.

“When I was a kid, CFB Chilliwack was heavily involved with both Canada Day and the Fair,” Rick Nicholas posted. “I’m not sure I see an issue here.”

CFB Chilliwack is long closed but there is still a small military presence in town. There is the CMEC and the CFB Chilliwack Historical Society (CFBCHS) runs the Chilliwak Military Museum on Wellington Avenue.

READ MORE: Chilliwack Military Museum opens its new doors in the heart of downtown

There is no question indeed that Chilliwack has both a rich agricultural tradition and military history.

If it wasn’t for a photograph of a large piece of military equipment crushing civilian vehicles, I don’t think anyone would have had an issue with what is planned for the Fair.

No matter what people think of the tank demo, the Chilliwack Fair has tons of great things planned from 4-H to music to gold panning.

Check out the whole lineup at

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