Political correctness has gone too far
My politically correct friends will have a heyday with this column because I have finally had enough of it. The tipping point came this week when the Toronto District School Board announced that they are removing the word “Chief” from the titles of senior management, “out of respect for Indigenous people”. It appears that long used titles such as Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer or Chief of Staff should go the way of the Dodo bird because the word is disrespectful to First Nation Canadians. What a total bunch of nonsense!
This is the same school board by the way, that allows religious services for Muslim children to be held on school property but bans all other religious activities from their premises.
To make my week worse, I found myself finally having to agree with Donald Trump on something and that hurt! He said it’s time we started saying Merry Christmas again and I am with him on that. These days we’re wished a “Happy Holiday Season” or “Seasons Greetings”. Schools have ‘holiday parties’ but Christmas parties are taboo. That seems to be the politically correct thing to do.
But Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Christ. It is essentially a Christian festival. Others are welcome to join in, but that is the purpose of Christmas. There would be no holiday without it. I have no problem wishing my Jewish friends Happy Hanukah or hoping my Muslim friends have a holy Ramadan. So why is it so difficult to recognize Christmas for what it is? Sometimes I think that political correctness only goes one way!
Since I seem to be on a rant, let me say that I also think we take political correctness too far when it comes to our history. I find myself asking when the time will come for us to stop paying for perceived mistakes of the past. I use the word ‘perceived’ advisedly, as standards we hold today as a society are often different than they were in previous generations.
In February of this year, an Ontario Court ruled that the Federal government was liable for harm done to at-risk, on-reserve, Indigenous children who were placed in non-Aboriginal homes from 1965 to 1984. It is called the 60s Scoop. Although the Government argued that the 1960s were different times and that it acted with good intentions, in line with prevailing standards, the Court agreed with the plaintiffs, who argued they had suffered lasting harm by being alienated from their heritage. The decision was made by a single Judge and the Trudeau Government did not appeal this decision. Instead, it has apparently agreed to a settlement of about $750 million plus legal fees, as well as a further $50 million for an Indigenous Healing Foundation in Ontario. The total package will come awfully close to a billion dollars!
I have real trouble agreeing with this. It may be politically correct to put the heritage of a child first, but to me the priority should be their health and safety. Appropriate standards for the well being of a child in Canada should be the same on a reservation as they are in the rest of the country. Sadly, I know from personal experience, that they are not. I am the father of an Indigenous daughter whose abandonment on a reservation, in my view, resulted in malnourishment that has caused life-long problems. It is important therefore to recognize that the children in the so called 60s Scoop, were found to be “at risk”. There was no apparent argument about that. To me, that trumps everything else.
Political correctness has gone too far. We cannot be all things to all people and we cannot be continually paying for the sins of our fathers. Changing the names of sports teams or ripping names off buildings or taking down statues accomplishes nothing. And no amount of money can truly compensate those who really suffered from ignorance or abuse over past generations.
Canada is not perfect and our history is not without its flaws, but we still rank as one of the most respected countries in the world. We are known for our diversity and our humanity and for believing in the equality of all Canadians regardless of their background. That is what we should celebrate and that is what we should promote. There is little to be gained by constantly looking backwards and paying the price for doing so.
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