OrilliaMatters received the following letter from Dave Beckett in response to recent stories about looking at monuments through a modern lens.
How is it that we have to judge the past based on our present ways of thinking and lifestyles?
It is true that Indigenous people were definitely treated badly and their land was taken away. But how long does the guilt and reconciliation programs have to go on (ie. residential schools). Words alone by our prime ministers do not help. Monies paid for land does not work. Building new towns and developing new infrastructures is constantly being completed. Huge sums of money paid by churches have caused near bankrupt situations. Still, it is not enough. When will it finally be settled?
In regards to the Champlain Monument, as a part of this city’s art community we had a giant of Canadian art... what is going to happen on that topic? Will it be finally replaced or destroyed because of Champlain’s past? As an Orillian for over 65 years I have never seen our Champlain monument in a negative light or as a disgrace to the Indigenous people of our area. It is only a statue ... a monument built of steel and concrete, conceived and constructed in memory of an era and persons.
I am a Canadian and proud of my heritage both as a Canadian and Orillian. I am proudly the son of originally English Christian parents immigrating to Canada and raised to believe that we are all equal in the sight of God. Will my Christianity be the next target of attack and statues pulled down in the name of past transgressions? Come on Canada. Let’s put our past to rest and move ahead.
I am sure I will be criticized for my comments, but I am also sure I am expressing feelings, at least in part, for a large number of Canadians ... if not, I have expressed my right of freedom of speech.