tereotypes are unfair. They are generalities that paint the many with the brush of the few. Often, they are outdated and wholly inaccurate, especially when they relate to race or ethnicity.
Those two preceding sentences may be generalities or stereotypes in themselves, which illustrates how ingrained they are in our society.
There are times when one member or another of a recognized faction or group feed the stereotype, and those who want to believe the age-old tags say ‘ha — you see what I mean?’
Case in point: it’s Sunday, at a beautiful spot in the Qualicum Beach-area forest beside the Little Qualicum River. It’s Rivers Day, a time to celebrate the live-giving powers of water and a day to talk about protecting the watersheds, what the fish are doing and, unfortunately, try to gain political brownie points.
The stereotype, the unfair political generality, is that left-of-centre people care more about the environment, while right-of-centre types are more inclined to favour business initiatives which may be at odds with the natural world around them.
We call, er, poppycock on that. But on Sunday beside the Little Qualicum, the stereotype monster was fed once again.
There was the NDP candidate for the next provincial election, Barry Avis, who managed to squeeze in some lines about the evils of a proposed coal mine. But he was there at least, along with other municipal politicians who rarely if ever are accused of being right-of-centre. Usual suspects all.
But that’s the point – where were the unusual suspects? We do not believe for a second local members of the B.C. Liberals or federal Conservatives, or their MLAs and MPs, care less about Qualicum Beach’s water supply or the salmon that run up these rivers and feed the forest.
It was a Sunday and there are other priorities. Perhaps there were other events for Liberals and Conservatives to attend, or maybe they just wanted some home time with their families – who can deny someone that pleasure?
The point is this: we believe those who are tabbed as right-of-centre politicians (municipal, provincial or federal) care just as much about things like the safety of our water supply as anyone else. Perhaps it’s time they exhibit that in a more public fashion and do their part to squash the stereotypes. — editorial by John Harding