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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Keeping those B.C. murals

My weekly debate with Mary Woo Sims has now been posted on the Tri-City News' website. Our topic this week centres on those controversial murals at the B.C. Legislature.

Surprisingly, Mary Woo agrees with me that the murals should remain in place. But at that point we diverge. She argues that the murals could to serve as an educational tool, reminding people, she suggests, of the horrors of Western imperialism, etc. I, on the other hand, advance what I think is a more sensible reason for keeping the murals in place.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on May 23, 2007 in Aboriginal Issues | Permalink


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When US Attorney-General John Ashcroft draped some naked statues at the Justice Department where he had to work, he was pilloried by the Leftoids for being a censoring fundamentalist Christian. He didn't remove them nor destroy them - merely covered them so he wouldn't have to see naked female genitalia all day.

Now these Leftoids are taking the opposite tack. Go figure!

Posted by: obc | 2007-05-23 7:44:10 PM

Maybe we should demolish the Legislature building itself, as it is a reminder of "western imperialism" .

Posted by: Mallard | 2007-05-23 8:44:05 PM

"I think that if you have a place which we all celebrate as British Columbians where one group of people in British Columbia feels alienated, feels hurt, feels misunderstood, feels excluded, then we are falling short of the goals and the spirit of this… Legislature."

Feel free to replace "British Columbians" with "Afghanis", "British Columbia" with "Taliban-ruled Afghanistan", and "Legislature" with "Koran", and think of the Bamiyan Buddhas destroyed in 2001.

Posted by: Rob Huck | 2007-05-23 8:58:38 PM

I don't see how you CAN leave the artistic merit of the paintings out of it. They are mediocre at best, as "official" art tends to be. Why non-aborigonals should be invested in a couple of crappy paintings to the point that they would be offended if they were removed is entirely beyond me. I am certainly not.

Posted by: bigcitylib | 2007-05-24 7:16:57 AM

"Why non-aborigonals should be invested in a couple of crappy paintings to the point that they would be offended if they were removed is entirely beyond me."

Just more political correctness, exerting its growing power. Give in here, and tomorrow they will find 10 more issues that "offend" them.

Posted by: obc | 2007-05-24 7:35:30 AM


Support bad art of the floodgates will open,is that your argument? I disagree. Western civilization will survive if the paintings come down.

Posted by: bigcitylib | 2007-05-24 7:39:48 AM


If the logical conclusion to your line of reasoning (all paintings come down) means no more tax dollars for artists, I'm all for it.

By all means, paint to your heart's content, but let the ‘artists' survive on their own merits.

Just expressing myself.

Posted by: set you free | 2007-05-24 7:45:36 AM

Agree about the bad art thing, but a small victory for Leftoids here will only embolden them to continue their assault on what "offends" them. Wait until hockey one day brings them screaming down the halls. "Too much violence teaches the children to become aggressive." BAN THE SPORT NOW!

Posted by: obc | 2007-05-24 7:46:56 AM

Why not get rid of all the evil relics of western imperalism, you know like indoor plumbing, antibiotics, electricity, etc. Then we can all get back to crapping on the ground and digging grubs for breakfast.

Posted by: David | 2007-05-24 10:38:02 AM

Actually, "mediocre art" is perfectly fitting and appropriate decorum for the BC Legislature - provincial microcosm of the CBC. But I'm with SYF on state subsidized / funded art. Lets have none - private / NGO patrons only.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2007-05-24 11:08:49 AM


Yeah. I'm glad bigcity opened up the topic.

There could be a pretty wide swath cut through public funding of the arts.

In Edmonton, about 80 million in taxpayers dollars is going to refurbishing the existing art gallery. Not that there was anything wrong with the old one.

What about some of the dubious propoganda produced by the National Film Board?

Thanks again, bigcity.

Posted by: set you free | 2007-05-24 11:36:35 AM

"In Edmonton, about 80 million in taxpayers dollars is going to refurbishing the existing art gallery."

Original price - new estimate is $88 million. Wait until it's finished and the price will be. . . ?

Posted by: obc | 2007-05-24 11:43:38 AM

Terry O'Neill wrote:
"Notwithstanding the debate over the murals’ artistic and historical significance, or over the artist's intentions when he created the works, for me the issue comes down to one thing, respect: respect for our ancestors who built this province, launched our treasured form of government, and commissioned and approved those murals in the first place."

So, would these be the same ancestors who got the bright idea that, despite 200 years of precedent, we should stop signing treaties with the existing occupants of British Columbia and claw back reserves, thus setting the stage for years and millions of dollars of aboriginal litigation?

For the record, I think they should leave the murals in place, although not for the inane reasons offered by O'Neill above. Rather than spend $1 million trying to take the mural out, they should take the advice of Jane Munro, the grandaughter of George Southwell, and add more art -- including work by aboriginal artists such as Robert Davidson, Bill Reid and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun.

Posted by: truewest | 2007-05-24 7:16:59 PM

All in all, it's just another pic on the wall...

Posted by: pink floyd | 2007-05-25 11:27:26 AM

Hey, if someone painted me or my great grandmother, with tits hanging down to her knees, I would be offended too.

I say, why bother removing them. Simply place something else over them, which could be removed, such as on a hinge, to see underneath. This would preserve the historical facts of the past, even as wrong as they have been, as well as show that we are moving on!


Posted by: Lady | 2007-05-25 12:03:39 PM


If you and/or your grandmother's tits hang down to your knees you'd naturally be reluctant to be exposed that way in a painting.

But the women portrayed in the murals (of no one in particular) are good looking, some might say fetching, women. They're portrayed working side-by-side with white labourers doing similar work.

Voting to remove the murals was typical pc pandering to phony multi-culti 'sensitivities'.

Posted by: JR | 2007-05-25 1:54:30 PM

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