At some point or another, everyone says something they really wish they hadn’t.
For most people, it’s a matter of apologizing and admitting that was a really dumb thing to say. Politicians, however, tend to dodge and weave a bit more than the rest of us.
So it goes with Linda Larson and her question of “How long do you think before the legacy of those residential schools finally burns itself out of the First Nations people?”
Larson made other remarks during the health committee hearing showing she understands, at least in part, the tragedy of residential schools. But, her question, which she rephrased later, shows a degree of cultural insensitivity unacceptable in a MLA.
Nor is this the first time Larson has been called out for her comments. Last year, B.C. NDP environment critic Chandra Hebert called on Larson to apologize for remarks referring to supporters of the South Okanagan National Park as “crazy people” and extremists.
It is possible Larson meant her questions about residential schools kindly. There are probably few people that don’t want to see those wounds healed and the scars faded to a memory. There is, however, a lot of work to be done before we ever get to that stage.
Even then, that is for the sake of the First Nations people. Society at large, and governments especially, should never forget the horror that residential schools were from concept to execution. Otherwise, how can we ensure it never happens again?
And even if, as Premier Christy Clark claims, Larson was asking how the wounds could be healed not how do we forget the past, her question was phrased in a callous manner that could be misunderstood.
But in the end, why not do like the rest of us and simply apologize for making a dumb comment, and work to do better in the future, without all the justifications and explanations?