BILLION DOLLAR Museum an NDP Scheme to “Brownwash” BC History

The only history worthy of telling … and memorializing … is the unblemished, unfiltered absolute truth.

Good museums are invaluable assets in any local community, province, state or country. Future generations can … and should … learn from the accomplishments and failings of the past.

But beware when governments and politicians take an active role in planning, organizing and recounting the history of any people or region … through museums!

The rewriting of history to fit the propaganda/ideological goals favored by the politicians in power is very dangerous.

Which is what I believe is happening in BC … and there is mounting evidence to prove it.

If British Columbians (and the BC media) had the time and interest in putting two and two together, they would realize political interference in the Royal BC Museum ESCALATED long before Premier John Horgan’s announcement of the new BILLION DOLLAR museum.

It began last December, with the closure and dismantling of the museum’s hugely popular Old Town exhibit.

Old Town showed how BC’s early settlers first lived/shopped in their new environment. And it showcased thousands of artifacts (tools, clothing, household goods) and early urban living conditions.

But they were European …and white. Under the NDP, It had to go! And so did the Captain Vancouver’s ship’s cabin depiction.

This from the Victoria Times Columnist announcing the closure:

“The museum will close the entire third floor, which also includes the First ­Peoples Gallery, on Dec. 31, in what it calls a “decolonization” of exhibits in a step toward eliminating racism and the start of ­reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“Exhibits in the Becoming B.C. Gallery, chronicling early European settler ­history — including the Old Town replica, displays on the logging, fishery and mining ­industries and Capt. George Vancouver’s ship ­Discovery — will disappear after more than 50 years.”

Yes … key elements depicting BC’s REAL history will “disappear”.

“Elements of those displays could eventually return in a new form as the museum develops a “new narrative.”

“New narrative”?

Sounds like a new “woke” propaganda attempt to me!!

I have no doubt the First Nations exhibits and celebration of culture will return in the “new” museum in fawning expanded form and content: the European brave explorers, rugged pioneers and accomplishments not so much … and likely not to the same degree of the prior celebration of their culture/contributions.

You can read the full story here: https://www.timescolonist.com/islander/royal-bc-museum-sees-rush-for-last-look-at-old-town-before-its-dismantled-4880069.

Still think BC’s “new” history WON’T be politically tainted?

“Government has committed to modernization of the Royal BC Museum ….” said the Museum’s own press release at the time.

“Modernization” ?

Whenever government gets involved in “modernization” of any history museum …. be scared, be very scared!

In fact, Vancouver Sun columnist Vaughn Palmer noted just last week that it was Tourism Minister Melanie Mark months ago who “presided over the permanent closure and removal of Old Town on grounds that it was part of an institution that needed to be “decolonized” forthwith.”

“Only after an outcry by capital region residents who really did love Old Town, did Mark drop the “decolonialization” rhetoric and begin referring to the need to “modernize” and seismically upgrade the museum.”

You can read Palmer’s full column here: https://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/vaughn-palmer-horgan-can-only-blame-himself-for-museum-faux-pas.

The BC NDP government is interfering in … and rewriting BC history.

No doubt to FIT the NDP’s historic, ideological and political narrative … the truth be damned!

And WHO will ultimately decide how/what the “new” museum will tell BC’s history?

This from the Museum’s own website:

“The Royal BC Museum Corporation is governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors, appointed by the Province, and accountable to the Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. The Board appoints a Chief Executive Officer to implement policies and corporate goals.”

Can’t be any more political than that!

Be skeptical … be scared.

In fact, from what NDP MLA Aman Singh (Richmond-Queensborough), said in the Legislature last week, I believe government (political) interference will soon extend well beyond the BC Museum.

“Our government understands the pivotal role museums, art galleries, historic sites and cultural centres have in preserving and showcasing the history, culture and contributions of specific communities in BC,” Singh proffered.

Governments should have NO ROLE in deciding/telling the stories, the history, the truth in ANY of these institutions.

Is anyone naive enough to believe that the new NDP museum will tell the FULL truth of European, First Nations and immigrant interactions and history … the good, the bad and, yes, the ugly … on ALL sides?

No way!!

We all know governments and politicians deal in propaganda, spin … even sometimes outright lying … to suit their own agendas, ideology and political goals.

And the evidence is growing that, in BC, the NDP government is too actively participating in and manipulating the affairs of the Royal BC Museum … and likely even more areas to come.

The truth will set us free … but I doubt “truth” will be front and centre at the Billion Dollar “NDP Museum of BC History”.

Harv Oberfeld

(Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for FREE First Alerts to all new posting on this Blog.

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17 Responses to BILLION DOLLAR Museum an NDP Scheme to “Brownwash” BC History

  1. max avelli says:

    Hi Harvey,

    Agree with possible over-the-top white guilt wokeism here. But we are at least 8 years away from the opening of the Victoria Museum. We will see what happens — including changes in government.

    Anyhow, I just wanted to point out a breakdown in your self-editing. You may want to correct it ASAP. You state:

    “But they were European …and white. Under the NDP, It had to go! And so did the Captain Cook’s ship’s cabin depiction.”

    Ummm…Captain Cook sailed the “Endeavour” to Australia and NZ. He never touched the Pacific Northwest Coast.

    As reflected in the sentence from the TC that you C&P:

    “Exhibits in the Becoming B.C. Gallery, chronicling early European settler ­history — including the Old Town replica, displays on the logging, fishery and mining ­industries and Capt. George Vancouver’s ship ­Discovery — will disappear after more than 50 years.”

    You got the wrong Captain and the wrong boat 🙂

    (Response: Thanks for the correction … have amended the article. I guess these old British captains all look the same to me! 🙂 As for the timing, you are absolutely correct: eight years is a long time and governments and emphasis can change. However, my concerns would remain: the BEST museums in the world tell the TRUTH … unblemished by ANY government/politician “direction”. I have absolutely no objection to updating the exhibits to reflect new information/revelations/perspectives … BUT it has to reflect the TRUTH. For example, the issue of unmarked graves at residential schools SHOULD be highlighted, but so should the thousands of unmarked graves and burial mounds on or near First Nations lands/reserves themselves. I have actually written a blog on that: http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/reconciliation-or-hakedown/. And if discrimination, abuse and poor treatment of indigenous peoples are depicted … I have no objection, BUT so must the truth that many First Nations tribes slaughtered and pillaged each other, took slaves etc. too … not to mention how federal funds intended for various on-reserve projects were stolen/misdirected/wasted by some chiefs and all their relations over the last century. REAL history tells the TRUTH … including the uncomfortable, ugly parts … and I doubt the woke NDP Museum of BC History will! h.o)

    • max avelli says:

      Hi Harv,

      I didn’t mean for you to post that. I should have specified that it was For Your Eyes Only to fix the booboo.

      You made it worse.

      But since you decided to provide an extremely lengthy response to matters I never raised, let’s take up that mess you have pooped out.

      900 million going on 2 billion is pretty expensive for a provincial museum.

      The place is an asbestos disaster and more. Tearing the whole mess down is appropriate — as it should be an easy decision to tear down 22 Sussex Drive. The place is a pit, and no one will ever live there again.

      My hopes are that there will be no “Royal” in the name. So colonial. That is pathetic, even for white folks.

      But we have 8-plus years to see what that will look like. I have serious doubts that the exhibits will be directed out of the Premier’s office, as you suggest. Makes no difference whether the Premier is NDP, LIB or GENZ.

      And for goodness sakes, let’s get some dinosaurs in there!! Talk about a kiddie attraction.

      I remember when I lived in upstate NJ as a 5-8 year old going to NYC to the museum a number of times with my Dad (1 hour drive). Dinosaur skeletons everywhere. I also saw Willie Mays (SF) playing the Mets at Shea Stadium near the end of his career.

      All unforgettable.

      (Response: My first reference, to Captain Cook, was incorrect and I didn’t mind correcting it and crediting you for bringing it to my attention. As for your recollection, the Museum of Natural History is still there …and so are the dinosaurs and dioramas of animals in various natural locales. But the BEST collection of dinosaurs I have ever seen is in Drumheller, Alberta …if anyone ever gets the chance, take it in! As for the word “Royal” I also see no reason to continue to call it that; and I would even agree that a new museum EVENTUALLY could be justified. However, NOT NOW … when BC and the world are in such a tenuous painful economic state! And how in the world … without any earthquake criteria/building design/business plan or display concepts having been even generally sketched out … can a government announce the cost will be $789 million? It’s so ridiculously unbelievable … makes me think Cabinet meetings these days must be like Mad Hatter tea parties, with Horgan/Ministers ranting out fantasies … like if people can’t afford gas, they should ask someone passing by for a lift, or get together with neighbours to drive somewhere … or let’s plan/build a new museum … for exactly $789 Million! h.o)

  2. nonconfidencevote says:

    How does one “modernize” a ……. museum?
    Oh, right.
    We force our modern day “values” on our descendants who lived in a totally different age.
    I wonder if the only “research” done by graduate students of history are the ones focusing on racism, colonialism and sexism.
    All other research need not apply.

    One BILLION dollars ….for a museum that no one will visit…… more than once.

    Well they better hurry up.
    Because if the Deas Tunnel is any indication of how successive BC govts “get things done”……. it will be 3 times the estimate and 4 times longer to build.
    We won’t be seeing anything in that “Modern Museum of Colonialist Shaming” ( not to be confused with New York’s MOMA ) for at least 15 years…..

    (Response: When politicians of ANY ideology start getting involved personally in ANY museum of history, the alarm bells should go off with voters …and taxpayers …and the media …. immediately!! And I too suspect in this “new” NDP Museum of BC History there will be a lot of “focusing on racism, colonialism and sexism” … and little or no acknowledgement, let alone praise, for the accomplishments of the Europeans who over three hundred hears REALLY built and defended this land, our civilized society and our democratic ways! And if there is resistance from truth-encumbered members of the “board” or executive museum staff … watch for them to be replaced. All for a BILLION DOLLARS of taxpayers’ money! h.o)

  3. Gilbert says:

    The revisionism taking place under the NDP is completely wrong. It reminds me of communist regimes that insisted on their version of history. The museum project is a complete waste of money and one wonders where all the money is really going. I’m not surprised this is happening, but it’s very sad.

    (Response: Maybe visiting the “NDP Museum of BC History” in Victoria could end up like visiting “history” Museums in Moscow or Havana or Beijing … full of “Socialist Realism” dioramas and portraits of favored “woke” activist heroes as revolutionaries, suffering under great tribulation and exploitation (like having to actually get up and go to work!) … but then, under the leadership/guidance of the NDP, finally victorious against the bourgeois capitalists, who drive cars, own homes and make money by learning trades, skills or professions or operating businesses! All of this explained to future generations in great detail for only a measly BILLION DOLLARS … raised entirely by imposing more and more increases in gas taxes!! h.o)

    • max avelli says:

      Do you really believe what you just wrote, Harv.

      You are sounding like the other Nutters you attract here.

      You should really check yourself.

      Cheers!

      (Response: After Melanie Mark’s press conference today… I’m more convinced than ever my ridiculous characterization …will prove true! Read my next blog. h.o)

  4. D. M. Johnston says:

    Hapless Horgan seems to be calling it quits after this term of office and he seems to be pulling a Putin, by rewarding the NDP base with lots of taxpayer’s lolly.

    The billion dollar museum is just another indication that the NDP have completely lost the plot and writing the script for another massive electoral blow-out in 2024.

    Friday’s announcement of another $100 million for the Japanese interned in WW2, is just pandering to the NDP base, nothing more. The museum is about rewriting history, to suit the NDP’s philosophy that BC be returned to the First Nations and the rest of us, well we can just p*** off.

    The NDP just do not seem to understand the lessons (which now seem unlearned) from the FastFerry fiasco and continue doing the same things that lead to the 2001 election drubbing.

    Last summers forest fires that eviscerated Lytton and many other interior communities and last falls monsoon floods that drowned Merrit, Princeton, the Abbotsford plains and washed out the Number 1 and the Coq highways, now again seem like lessons unlearned.

    There is one project on the Island that is worthy of investment, especially in the era of Global Warming and climate change, rehabbing and reinventing the E&N Railway is forgotten by Horgan.

    Horgan’s NDP are more than bitter disappointment and have turned into an Orwellian nightmare.

    “Those who control the past control the future, and those who control the present control the past”

    The sad part is, Kevin Falcon, former Liberal Minister of the crown is a very evil little man and Horgan is paving the path for his election in 2024. I just cannot vote for either.

    (Response: An election in 2024 may seem far away, but not really in terms of the time it will take for the economy and family finances/living conditions and debt burdens to recover … and even that’s only if the Ukraine war is over by then. And I wouldn’t bet on that: once Putin secures his grip on a land corridor from Russia to Crimea, he will NOT give it up …so the Ukrainians will likely keep up their struggle to retake their lands. And if British Columbians are still feeling the results of that, and the Liberals keep up the heat re the Billion Dollar “NDP Museum of BC” slated for Horgan’s own neighborhood, the voters may indeed conclude it’s time for change. h.o)

    • max avelli says:

      OK — let’s keep it real.

      So Horgan is a cancer survivor and you glory in the possibility that he steps down before the next election. There is a special place in you know where reserved for you.

      1) Leaving that personal commentary aside, on the face of it a 1 billion investment (to be 2 billion by 2030 when all is said and done) seems insane now. So did the billions given to people like you for COVID. Did you complain then? That was really a stupid policy — but maybe more efficient than setting income caps and vetting all applications.

      2) Anyone who follows this stuff knows the BC Museum is a disaster. This goes back 20 years. Upgrades needed for earthquakes (like the Legislature too), and a mess of asbestos too. We should not be charging people go in there for entertainment to come out with mesothelioma. Long overdue for a teardown, given that repairing to bring up to code would be more expensive than a teardown and complete rebuild (like 22 Sussex, which won’t be done under the current PM because of the optics).

      3) Fast Ferries is a completely irrelevant comparison. Just stop and think about it for a moment. I am sure you will get it.

      4) Are all Japanese NDP supporters? Fail. I could make some other comments on that, but won’t. I am sure you can figure it out.

      5) Do you have any idea what it would cost to rehabilitate the E&N and bring it back into service??!!

      This has been on the table for two decades. The “railroad” would have to be completely ripped up and replaced.

      And you think $1 billion for the new Museum is expensive. Geez!!

      What information are you relying on??

      6) I agree that Kevin Falcon is “an evil little man”. How is a guy in the pocket of developers supposed to be trusted to do anything about “affordable housing”??

      7) As for Harv’s response, Ummmm… the economy is doing great. Unemployment is basically zero. Anyone who doesn’t have a job now doesn’t want one (or is in transition from one to another. Inflation sucks, but that is what happens when things come back to “normal” after two years of collapsing prices and unemployment. It is a “shock”. Inflation is not the sole barometer of the health of the economy. I am sure most people would prefer being employed an paying higher prices than not having a job at all. Doh!!

      8) How does the Russian war on Ukraine get dragged into local issues?

      9) Horgan is not the local representative for any part of Victoria, any of the Saaniches, Esquimalt, View Royal, etc. He is the representative for Langford-Juan de Fuca, which most people in the Victoria area proper would consider the “boondocks”. Just saying.

      • D. M. Johnston says:

        Oh my Max………..

        Let me try to answer your questions.

        1) $1 billion is a lot of money and with the disaster BC has endured and the lack of government help (just ask the folks who used to live in Lytton), a billion for a museum seems a trifle over the top.

        2) A little too much hyperbole I think, most older buildings do not stand up to today’s stricter building standards. I would like a second independent opinion.

        3) FastFerry has become a BC standard of incompetence, arrogance and fiscal irresponsibility with BC governments, especially the NDP.

        4) Why would Horgan offer up $100 million, now, when the feds already dealt with this issue with cash and never ending apologies.

        5) As for the E&N, the ICF has released a document stating that rail operation can begin again for an investment of $431 million. Persobnally, I think this is rather light and from my correspondence from experts who have real knowledge of this and BC’s rail transit history, the cost would be more like $1.5 billion for a marketable rail service connecting Victoria to Port Alberni and Courtney, with at least two trains per hour per direction. They also said it would be a bargain compared to the $3 billion 5.8 km Broadway subway and the now teetering on $4.95 billion, 16 km Expo Line extension to Langley. The same folks also said that a rehabilitated E&N would probably attract more new riders than both Metro Vancouver rapid transit projects combined. This makes a lot of people very nervous and a lot of people would wish that the E&N would just rot away.

        6) No comment, in agreement.

        7) We will never get back to normal (pre -covid) but must embrace a new normal and until politicians realize this, inflation will skyrocket.

        8) The Russian Ukraine war affects BC in so many ways. first it will greatly increase the need for petroleum products as Russia has been cut off exporting theirs. Also the world is entering a dangerous world of global food shortages and Russia is preventing the Ukraine from exporting grain again will affect BC in many ways. pretending it is a war in a far away land by people we don’t know just will not cut it. This war will have very serious consequences for Canada and BC that our current lot of politicians are turning a blind eye too.

        9) Horgan is in fact the premier who represents is riding which is not Victoria, but he represents the entire province.

        ’nuff said.

  5. Stu de Baker says:

    John Horgan eroded my faith with his turn around on the Site C dam, and now with this billion-dollar gift to Kevin Falcon and the Songhees Nation, he has given me no choice but to sit out the next election. They all dismissed my cohort long ago anyway.

    And now the talk is either David Eby, or Ravi Kahlon as the favourites to succeed John Horgan as leader.

    Eby, like his Liberal counterparts, carries too much baggage and should retire. Mr. Kahlon regardless of his qualifications, will not be accepted by the populous as premier material.

    Mind you, the people did bring back Mayor McCallum.

    An interesting comment by Max Avelli about your “self editing.”

    Max, you’ve committed the same sin, with the use of “Pacific Northwest Coast” which doesn’t exist.

    Bellingham Washington is in the Northwest corner of the United States. Vancouver British Columbia is in the Southwest corner of Canada. “PNW” should be confined to the contiguous United States (the lower 48) and if used correctly, would end at the Peace Arch.

    “PNW” is a fake place, created by the geographically challenged people of the US and has been foisted upon the rest of the world, just like their fictitious World Series and buffalo wings.

    This term also changes history and is an insult to those who settled on, and have spent generations building BC’s south, central and north coasts.

    Our coast is in/on the Northeast Pacific Ocean, which extends from Ecuador to the Bering Sea.

    Likewise, the entire coast of Asia from Indonesia to the Bering Sea is the Northwest Pacific Ocean or the real Pacific Northwest.

    (Response: Of course, Falcon like Horgan also has a lot of “baggage”. Usually, voters are very forgiving when election goodies and bribes are dangled in front of them, or they get impressed by some glib statement or clip .. or flub. But there are so many middle-class working people now hurting, yet seeing NO compassion, NO substantive relief from the NDP government … I sense a different kind of anger and bitterness towards them … which may not be forgotten … even with election promises or sudden caring help. h.o)

    • Steve Cooley says:

      Sitting out an election is an irresponsible action. Functional democracies are the combined result of engaged citizens. Only a few of us have the personality and knowledge to actively participate in a public debate during an election campaign. Political action need not be restricted to election campaigns. All of us have the responsibility to be aware of what our neighborhood, municipal, provincial and federal issues are and come decision time, register our decision.

      Stay home, stay quiet and boozoos will be at our governing tables.

    • max avelli says:

      Nobody likes a pedant (you may need to look that up).

      The “Pacific Northwest” is a term well understood by everyone on the west coast of NA.

      (Edited… no need to be rude. h.o)

  6. Art Smith says:

    Hi Harvey, when the person who is the main thrust behind the push to “decolonize” the museum, MLA Michelle Mark, is herself an indigenous person, we might be forgiven for thinking she has an agenda, that many of us might find offensive. In fact, some might even think that, everything that will be approved for the museum, may be insulting to anyone who is not indigenous. I have a feeling, having read some of her musings, there might be some elements of revenge, for some real or imagined slights, in the current iteration of the museum. I don’t have any illusions, that the NDP will put too many roadblocks in her way, it is much easier to pander.
    I hope that I am wrong about this, and it is rebuilt back bigger and better than ever, for the sake of the province, and Victoria, and doesn’t end up as another government fiasco to the tune of umpteen billion dollars.

    (Response: That’s why I believe politicians and political appointees should have nothing to do with planning anything INSIDE a public museum or art gallery etc. Partisanship can easily distort truth … and history. Leave it up to the historians, archeologists, archivists and designers. I hope I am wrong too … but I fear BC’s story …as told in the NDP Museum of BC History will be just a caricature of a real museum: more politically-correct and woke-conscious than telling the real story. How sad it will be to spend a BILLION DOLLARS of taxpayers’ money on a “museum” that becomes a laughing stock … housing a political farce, that undergoes another “modernization” with every change of government! h.o)

  7. nonconfidencevote says:

    Harvey.
    A bit off subject but…
    I was suffering through a Neetu Garcha “colonialist” blame session on the 6pm “news” tonight and I wondered…
    “What are the Global “Newshour” tv ratings?”

    Searched high and low on Google.
    Nothing.

    Then I found THIS gem!

    https://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/global-newshour-ratings-the-sky-is-falling/

    Any chance you could do a revisit to Global and the secretive tv Ratings system in Canada?

    (Response: Canadian broadcasters …. unlike their US counterparts … guard/hide their ratings from the public as much as they can. Frankly, since I hear radio and read on-line news during the day, I now find the Newshour largely unworthy/irrelevant, so my occasional “zip through” is taking less and less time, and I haven’t even thought about what their current ratings are. But I suspect, although they are still leading other stations, despite our huge population growth, they are still WAY down from BCTV’s glory day 15 years ago. h.o)

    • D. M. Johnston says:

      I have completely gone off Canada in news on the telly, because it is not news, rather an entertainment hour, with a sprinkling of current events.

      The CBC is just irrelevant theses days, even though they are Toronto’s national TV station.

      When I hear or read colonial, I change channel or skip to the next story. Colonial is a cliche these days for people who cannot form a real argument and instead use colonial as a negative. Say a lot about out education system.

      If one really wants to get the foamers mad just say, “Yes, let us stop being colonial and rid ourselves of the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs and stop all payments and freebies to the first nations across Canada.”

      It is pitchfork time when one says that!

  8. Gilbert says:

    I completely agree with Stu de Baker. The term “Pacific Northwest” should never be used to refer to British Columbia. It is a province in western Canada, but unlike Washington and Oregon, is definitely not part of the northwestern USA. Thanks for the geography lesson.

  9. Bruce says:

    Hey Max,

    You are right. Captain Cook had a storied career exploring Australia and Islands in the South Pacific. But your statement, “Ummm…Captain Cook sailed the “Endeavour” to Australia and NZ. He never touched the Pacific Northwest Coast.” is dead wrong. Cook, on his 1778 northward voyage to look for the fabled Northwest Passage spent four weeks in Nootka Sound.
    Captain James Cook was the Marco Polo, Roald Amundsen and Neil Armstrong of his day. When his statue in Victoria’s Inner Harbour was destroyed he became an undeserving victim of this “culture war”.

  10. ULYSSES says:

    As a grandson of Greek immigrants on both sides of my family, and raised on the Prairies, I find it insulting that, given the Indigenous train everyone is riding, that many other ethnic groups not only built this country but suffered cultural racism at its core. But through sheer hard work, these groups, including the immigrant Greek community, made a better life for their families. We didn’t ask for compensation or even an apology. Why? Because to receive either is subservient on its own.

    (Response: There are many, many immigrants and descendants of immigrants who reflect the same experience that you recount: they arrived here with little or nothing; were given little or nothing; faced GREAT discrimination, racism, economic challenges … but went on to build their own lives and helped BC develop and thrive. Yet, the BC Minister of Tourism and Culture didn’t even mention them in talking about the NDP’s Billion Dollar Museum of BC History … just , over and over again, the need for the facility to reflect/satisfy First Nations’ needs/concerns etc. Looks like this is going to be a VERY political propaganda rewrite of BC history … if it goes ahead as the NDP government plans. h.o)

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