Enjoy the right to write

Whatever your position on divisive issues like the pipeline, at least we are in a society that permits dissent.

Dear editor,

How can I take on a topic that would take the space and effort of a book?

As the saying goes, “many drops make an ocean,” and so a letter to the local newspaper, repeated by millions of people the world over can have the effect of a one-time major publication. And we really must get it across to everyone in the community how important a community newspaper is, and can be; even those whose letters may not always be accepted.

I walked past the telephone by the dentist’s office in Port McNeill yesterday and the man on the telephone looked up, thought for a moment, and then said, “You are the one who writes those letters!”  “Yes, how do you know?” I answered and then added, “I hope we are still friends and you are not too mad at me because of what I have to say.”

And he answered, “Not at all, keep on writing.”

My friend Ingvar once said, “Bill, if I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself.” I like to say, “If I had known that someday I will end up writing letters at regular intervals to a newspaper, I should perhaps have taken some courses at UBC in journalism and writing.” But really, it is the substance, much more than the style that matters.

If I had one suggestion I would like to convey to the publishers and the editors of newspapers, be they the small local papers or large national publications, it is this: forget trying to influence your readership with old-fashioned left-, center-, or right-wing policies, but let the readers freely express themselves, and, I am certain, the truth will emerge, stupidities will be exposed, and it will be easier to discover and discern right from wrong, and what makes sense and what doesn’t.

Take the oil debate at Port Hardy recently, all eight hours of it!

Could they have a similar free-for-all debate like this one in China, or North Korea, or Iran, Cuba or Nigeria?  I doubt it.

Yet, because of the internet, people in those countries will have no trouble in stumbling on the truth of things, or coming across suggestions that make sense, even in those countries where censorship will slowly become meaningless.

In Iran of course it is important for us who stand before such critical decisions— oil pipelines or no oil pipelines, super tankers or no super tankers— to know that years ago they toppled the Shah so they could become masters in their own house, throw out the BP oil company, and own their own oil resources again. Venezuela did the same, and Canada tried once, under Trudeau – or are you not old enough to remember?

But compare Nigeria! The horror stories one often hears on Radio International about how the delta area is messed up with these oil activities, some of which are caused by the locals themselves, tapping into the pipelines to obtain a little bit of that precious industrial commodity, so they can drive a vehicle powered by that devilish or divine little gadget; the internal combustion engine. In Nigeria, one poet and political instigator was hanged – will I suffer the same fate now for writing this letter?  Or will the very well informed people who in good faith submitted their ideas to the Enright Pipeline Commission? Not likely!  So let’s count our blessings and preserve these freedoms we are enjoying!

Let me remind the reader what Abraham Lincoln had to say concerning taking a stand on the important issues that face us in ever-increasing frequencies: “The hottest spot in hell is reserved for those who do not take a stand.”

Wilhelm Waldstein

Port McNeill

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Things are looking up for Vancouver Island as zero COVID-19 cases have been reported for the first time since October. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Island records zero new COVID-19 cases for the first time since October

For the first time since October, the province is reporting zero new… Continue reading

Black Press Media file
Port Hardy RCMP on the hunt for porta-pottie arsonist

The porta-potties were lit on fire early in the morning on June 13

Eke Me-Xi students enjoy a field trip to Malcolm Island. (Submitted photos)
Eke Me-Xi Learning Centre takes field trip to Malcolm Island

Once at Bere Point, students made themselves at home in the day-use area

Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair logo
Mount Waddington Regional Fall Fair cancelled again due to COVID-19 restrictions

The 2022 fall fair is still scheduled to take place in Port Hardy

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Karl and Stephanie Ann Johanson were thrilled to spot a pair of Sandhill Cranes in the Panama Flats this month, an unusual appearance for such birds. (Photo by Stephanie Ann Johanson)
WATCH: Sandhill cranes an unusual, joyful sight in South Island parkland

These birds don’t often touch down on their way between northern B.C. and Mexico

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

(V.I. Trail/Google Maps)
Now 90% complete, Vancouver Island trail forges new funding parnership

Victoria Foundation takes on Vancouver Island Trail Association; fund valued at $40,000

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Most Read