LETTER: Wave of ‘colonial cleansing’ washing over PEC

Dear Editor,

Despite County Council’s shocking decision last November to honour and support Macdonald’s legacy of British Christian colonialism, “a wave of colonial cleansing” is moving through Prince Edward County.  It’s clearing the landscape of the traditional emblems of colonialism, while burying Shire Hall in the ignominious debris of history. It began on Picton’s Main Street in 2013, when a derelict Christian church symbolizing the state’s Christian power structure responsible for the destruction of millions of indigenous Canadian lives, finally went down. The long overdue demolition of the privately owned building was opposed by a few colonial die-hards who refused to let it disappear from a streetscape that has changed radically since the church was constructed.

A handful of local Supremacists launched a hostile takeover of hundreds of business properties on Main Street in 2014, when they forced the owners to surrender their property rights. There is no gratitude or compensation for this unnecessary loss, and now we’re stuck with another delusion called the Heritage District.    In 2020, the Macdonald shrine to British Supremacy went down. It represented the social delusion that empowered the political and spiritual domination of indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians.

My letter to the Gazette about three years ago suggested removing the Macdonald shrine to avoid or reduce the predictable public condemnation and humiliation we experienced last year because of its presence. Despite the efforts of Council to prevent this County’s transition from colonial to ethical governance, the transformative power of truth in the TRR, combined with a visit from a thousand silent healers from the BLM movement, has overwhelmed this Council’s self-serving political agenda.   When ethical persuasion failed to move Council to relocate the Macdonald shrine, the shame of hundreds of child graves worked almost overnight. Great changes are taking place without Council’s input or approval, as Shire Hall’s self-isolation from the political realities in this community and country, renders it moribund.

Canada’s oldest colonial paper, has closed its Main Street offices, to operate remotely. The Picton Gazette has supported colonial governance from 1830 until recently. A lack of basic essentials like public washrooms in Picton’s business district until two years ago, is material proof that every local government since the Loyalists, has continued to govern with a colonial mindset that puts government first, rather than a democratic mindset committed to serving the essential needs of the public first. The Macdonald statue appeared before a modest set of washrooms finally appeared in Benson Park a couple of years ago.

An absence of signage on Main Street ensured their secluded secrecy. As the old symbols of British colonial power disappear from the County’s landscape, we see a process of environmental sanitation unfolding as the old social delusions that were once embedded in them, and which have harmed this community, and others, for generations disappear. Perhaps now, the great colonial wounds that were inflicted on both indigenous and white Canadian families will begin to heal more quickly.

Once we push or pull our governments onto the ethical path, we will find new ways to release the old harmful beliefs and delusions, and grow a healing culture with compassionate humanism.  For nearly two centuries, the Picton Gazette helped shape County thinking, feeling, and identity.  Will a downsized Gazette with a new perspective on our history, reinvent itself, and move from a traditionally colonial paper that has faithfully served colonial governments, to a genuine community newspaper that is finally willing to challenge government decisions, and hold Council seriously accountable on behalf of all County residents?

Steve Staniek