Letter in response to “Un-Canadian Acts and the Erosion of Community Values” in the Whistler Question. Status: submitted too late to print + over 400 words.
‘We love it here because Canadians are so nice…’ (Read with accent of your choice.)
I hear it every day with pride as visitors pass through my doors and in my 14 years in Whistler I have been blessed to see many of them become familiar faces and friends. We are ‘nice’ aren’t we? We welcome them into our home with open arms and smile with pride when we see them return year after year. History says sarcastically, “The English are so nice”, my loyalist ancestors were sure to instill that sentiment into our coveted Canadian culture and it is exactly that indescribable character, being Canadian, that I am writing to defend following the tongue lashing outlined in the editorial, “Un-Canadian acts and the erosion of values”.
So what makes us Canadian? We are nice. We are polite. We need affordable homes and in Whistler we are Canadian enough to purchase them in good faith. We vote for local representatives that we recognize and trust, and above all else, those who will preserve our way of life, our health and our welfare…our Whistler experience. We address concerns with straight talk and common sense every day decision making and we are, of course, above all things, polite. Or at least we were.
Now, if you will, let me rewind to a time before tire slashing, name calling, and the mayor and council’s much debated ‘defining moments’ that are leading us into an election in a few short months. The municipal election in November will for many of us in Whistler perhaps appear more pivotal than the federal variety we have suffered too many times in too few years. What was it to be Canadian then? As the concept of citizenship rightfully evolves in the social media age, we are all still Canadian, aren’t we? Even the rioters, vandals and Canucks fans are all Canadian. The question that begs is, ‘What has brought us here, to this point?’
Before Rainbow, before Cheakamus, before Fitz Crossing and before Nita Lake, we Canadians didn’t build WHA employee housing for local families beneath heavy hydro-lines, steps from highway 99, or on displaced landfill sites with illegally operating asphalt plants. Before VANOC and the games we hosted and loved my property tax bills didn’t rocket 40% in three years…but maybe the closely matched municipal wage increases published in the same issue at hand did. Before the magnificent new totem pole in the new concrete + brick plaza we didn’t clear cut the last stand of big cedars in Whistler Village (the irony). Is this the new Canadian? Or is this the “erosion of values” that will bend the polls come November.
Maybe we are too nice. Maybe in a way, those recent unmentionable actions are a pointed message, without injury, in the spirit of civil disobedience taken with prejudice only after every other imaginable display of public disapproval was exhausted, insulted and ignored. Illegal, undoubtedly and deliberately, yes, but un-Canadian? Think twice.