My letter to the publisher of the Nanaimo Daily News

Dear Hugh,

I started off by sending your parent network a letter to let them know what has been published in your paper, specifically the article titled “Educate First Nations to be Modern Citizens.”

While I am not surprised by the overtly racist opinions that still exist in Canada, I am deeply offended by the notion that you see it fit to publish and spread this hateful speech. Are your advertisers aware that their messages appear beside such regrettable material? Do you think they’ll be keen to advertise in the future? But that’s just business, and is the least of my worries.

What about the human cost?

Do you know what an oppressive world looks like? Do you know what an oppressive world feels like? Do you know that so much of oppression happens because of what people believe? And do you know so much of what people believe is based on what they hear from people and publications that they trust? Do you have any idea of how much power you have? Do you have any idea of how deeply you’ve misused it? How can you sleep knowing that you are actually making the world a worse place to live?

I can tell you what an oppressive world looks like. It looks exactly like your newspaper right now.

I sincerely hope you learn something from this.


Update: Nanaimo Daily has pulled the article, though fortunately and unfortunately, it lives on through the Huffington Post.

Update: Nanaimo Daily’s publisher, Hugh Nicholson, has issued an editorial clarification, in which he states “the letter should not have run“:

In the Wednesday edition of the Nanaimo Daily News, a letter to the editor ran from Mr. Dan Olsen, which has caused considerable consternation among some of our readers.

While we would defend Mr. Olsen’s right to hold and express his opinion, the sentiments expressed were entirely his own and in no way reflect the views of the newspaper.

The letter should not have run.
We apologize for any distress this may have caused our readers.

Hugh Nicholson
Division Manager

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  1. While it’s nice that the publisher responded, their response still leaves a few unanswered questions:

    Who made the decision to run the letter?
    Will there be any disciplinary action taken against them?
    Will there be a published apology?

    I am saddened that this even made it to press/the internet to begin with. It reflects so poorly on Nanaimo, Canada, and everyone else who doesn’t believe crap like this. Thanks to Google’s caching the article, it will never go away, either.

  2. Every Corporate default is to say opinions expressed do not reflect their view. When an “opinion” as arrogant as the one that has stirred up controversy is put out there via “Newspaper/website” then there has to be some accountability taken by that business. We all have to be accountable, our actions and beliefs that we share and pass onto our children can be devastating to the world around us if our default is “the opinions & views expressed blah blah blah”

    Integrity, word of the day!

    I sincerely hope that Don goes on to learn that like him, WE have red blood running through our veins just as he does and know that there are plenty of us working hard to show the world the true strength of the First Nations people of Canada and people who share his views get to see the best we have to offer, that we do have an awful lot to share.

  3. To add to the confusion, I have read other replies stating that Dan Olsen was “not a staff member and this was a letter”.

    Clearly evidence of the contrary, which I’m sure you have seen, has surfaced and they are back peddling even more. Maybe they were looking for a little stir and got more than they planned on. Maybe they thought they had a grumpy Mickey Rooney type on their staff. This is not Mickey Rooney and this is not grumpy. This is disgusting and ignorant.

    In response to Katherine’s comments I believe people will be fired. The what is soon to be national attention this is going to garner will cast a very bright light on Nanaimo Daily News. My hope, is that there will be an appropriate level of coverage on the public outcry denouncing this rubbish. Showing that we on Vancouver Island do not, in the least. share this idiots beliefs.

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