The power of words – and how they are used

Re: “Bias not a dirty word, says ex-councillor”, The CV Record, July 26, 2016.
Let’s talk about words. As a former leader of the BC Liberals and Comox ex-councillor, you will be well aware of the power of words and how they can be used to incite or defame.

Going back to your September 2014 letter to The Record, you called Baybrook a “rotten, derelict building,” a powerful image, repeated in subsequent letters by several Baybrook-area residents.

(Reference: McLoughlinSept 9 2014 )

Emotive words like these probably went a long way in persuading the Comox Town Council to order the demolition of Baybrook.

The tragedy is that these words were not true. Professional assessments of this house, the original heritage home of famed Canadian Mack Laing, showed it to be sound and in good condition. In addition, both Heritage BC and the National Trust for Canada, in letters to Comox Mayor and Council, urged preservation of “this important heritage property” and offered assistance.

In your July 26, 2016 letter, we have your new attack word, “blackmail.”

(Reference: McLoughlin July26 2016 )

To say that I insinuated that the present Town Council had blackmail on their minds while choosing two Mack Laing Nature House Advisory Committee members is unfounded and untrue.

Do you even know what blackmail means? It means threatening to reveal damaging information about someone in order to extort money or compliance from them. There was no damaging information to reveal, so blackmail was never an issue. My point was that the Town’s choice of committee members from two organizations that receive funding from the Town created the possibility for a conflict of interest.

Town Council also appointed some members publicly known to favour the demolition of Shakesides. Bias in this case is a dirty word. Words like blackmail, rotten and derelict are always dirty words, especially when they are used untruthfully.

Marilyn Machum

3 comments for “The power of words – and how they are used

  1. Lisa Oldham
    August 25, 2016 at 7:36 am

    May the original works and goodwill of the intended be restored,
    Tukunsila I pray that you undo every thread of evil and deceit here…… For the Indigenous peoples, intended for the Indigenous peoples

  2. Terry Chester. Heritage Vandal #1
    August 26, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I’m with Lisa Oldham. Turn the site back into the natural state that the Indigenous peoples left it, not with four feet of exposed cracked concrete and an old wooden structure that has no place in Nature. You want to talk about historical significance? The Indigenous peoples lived in this area long before any settlers; let’s respect their wishes. How vain and conceited of us all to think we can improve on what was taken from them with our western structures and pumped-up attitudes of superiority. “We will interpret Nature for you, because we are the authority”. Really, do we really need an interpretive centre in such a small park? Or a writer’s residence? Has anybody thought to ask K’ómoks First Nation (Comox Indian Band) about what they would like done in this Midden? I have, and it informed my opinion as we came to our decisions last Spring. They don’t have much time for Mac either, who tried to eradicate some species of hawks and eagles in the region.

    • adminml
      August 29, 2016 at 10:12 am

      Are you speaking for the native people now too, Terry? Who gave you the authority? We HAVE talked to them, by the way. They are supportive.
      Your superior attitude speaks volumes for your lack of character and false logic.
      You have absolutely no knowledge of the value of interpretive centres – or you would not make such supercilious statements.
      But then, that isn’t the real issue, is it? It’s the horrible thought that families might actually be drawn to the park – and might have to walk or drive through your little enclave of empty-nester snobs to get there. Isn’t this better than rock concerts in the heritage park just down the road? Quiet walks and the sounds and smells of nature are much more rewarding and speak to our future. Put in context, they will give everyone a better appreciation of what is important on this planet.
      Mack Laing wrote hundreds of articles about nature – and he had the knowledge. You do not. He wanted his home to become a nature museum. What gives you the right to judge him or refuse his legal wishes?
      Children will be learning about nature in the park in the nature pre-school. Why not make Shakesides into a learning experience for everyone – as Mack Laing wished?
      The park is not small. It’s over 5 acres, and it’s contiguous with Baybrook and the much larger Brooklyn Creek greenway.
      Mack Laing park is nothing like it was when Mack Laing died. The creek has been diverted, re-engineered and “managed”. Is this leaving nature untouched? How do signboards fit in with this “nature” you so wish to revert to?
      It is only because of the hard, manual labour by the MLHS that the park is starting to recover its native vegetation and ‘return to nature’. The house has been there as long as the park – longer, since it was built in 1949 and park was not so designated until 1973. It’s an integral part of the park experience.

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