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Letter: A matter of balance

We will not help things by embracing extremism

A matter of balance

We are living in “interesting” times. For many of us, the last few years have been the most challenging of our lives. With the worst aspects of COVID-19 behind us, Canadians now appear to be struggling to recover what once was, or to adapt to a new reality. Whichever option we choose, we will not help things by embracing extremism. Yet, sadly, that seems to be what we are doing.

Extremism, violence, hurting people and damaging public property in the name of ideology aren’t going to help us out of our difficulties, and it is as much true here as in the rest of Canada. However, people aren’t accepting this. If we look at the whole of North America, including Canada, and perhaps even our own Cowichan Valley, ideological extremism is rising, not diminishing. What we need is balance, and we are not getting it.

Have balance and reasonableness, including respect for law and order, and defence of free expression and free speech slipped out of vogue? Is it uncool to defend them or believe in them anymore? It is worth repeating that the price for that could be very high, and that we may all feel it very soon.

Extremism takes many forms, none of them are beneficial. One of the most prevalent ways it shows itself is by name calling, shaming or tagging. In that form it is now everywhere, and it is especially distressing when the prime minister of Canada, or any other high level public official, especially in the current coalition government, insults the public by calling them names in an effort to discredit them. Canadians should not be considered ideological criminals if they disagree with the government. Neither should they be thought of as part of a “fringe minority” having “unacceptable views.”

Calling someone a “phobe” simply because they have a different point of view, is an insult to our democracy and to Canada’s history. But it goes even deeper than that.

Across North America people’s lives are being damaged as they lose jobs, are “cancelled”, doxed or threatened with violence on social media and in the public square. This is happening in Canada too. Let’s face it. Extremism has gone mainstream and so, apparently, has narrow mindedness. When we accuse people and use weaponized language in an effort to suppress others we all lose. There is no upside to this. So we now have a choice. Are we going to embrace extremism, abandon reason and ignore balance and the facts, or are we going to take a deep breath and choose a better approach? The choice will be ours and so, unfortunately, will be the consequences.

Perry Foster

Duncan

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