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
Comox

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