Religious symbols have no place on public land

Duncan – My suggestion for Mount Tzouhalem would be building a tapering, pillar-shaped cairn made of white rock or stone (for visibility and durability), with a reflective metal surface at the top to catch and reflect sun rays. Such a project could draw financial support from enough individuals, groups, and businesses to make it happen at no cost to taxpayers. In 21st century Canada newly constructed mountain top monuments on public land should no longer be religious in nature. In the 2001 Census, 39 per cent of residents of the Cowichan Valley listed “none” as their religion. At long-term rates the percentage who are “non-religious” will have grown in the Cowichan Valley to 50 per cent or more by now – and it will continue to grow. The memorials we put on public land should inspire the entire community, not just a shrinking minority within it.

In Canada, religious symbols are no more appropriate on public mountain tops than on public sports fields, on public schools, or on any other form of public property. Individuals and groups continue to be free to put whatever religious symbols they want on their private land; but on public land – especially that as prominent as mountain tops – something that can touch the emotions of the entire population (not just half of it) should be the goal behind the construction of any new public monument.

Drew Shaw