Role of Europeans (British, French, Dutch, Germans, Italians, Greeks etc.) Lacking in NDP Museum Press Conference

It was supposed to be a “technical” briefing … giving pricing, seismic, timing details behind the NDP government’s announcement of a new $789 Million BC Museum of History will be built in Victoria.

But Tourism and Culture Minister Melanie Mark revealed much more than that at her press conference following the briefing.

First, Mark, who is of Nisga’a background, set aside both of Canada’s Official languages … to begin her remarks in a First Nations tongue.

Then she performed the usual current “woke” practice of acknowledging several First Nations on whose lands the press conference was being held.

And Mark made it VERY CLEAR that BC’s Indigenous groups will play a pivotal role … greater than any other BC citizens … in the development, design and recounting of BC’s history in the NDP’s new $789 Million history museum.

“Programming, procurement, design and construction planning must be done in the appropriate stages and in collaboration with local First Nations partners and with public engagement,” Mark told the media gathering.

Aren’t First Nations part of the public? Why a separate reference? Will they get a larger role, more say, than other BC citizens/taxpayers?


Mark revealed that, even prior to the May 13 public announcement of the plan to tear down and replace the existing museum, the government had held “an earlier ceremony with the local nations … members of the Songhees and Esquimalt nations who blanketed many people in their ceremony.”

“They think this is an important step forward for reconciliation … not only to protect and share their history, but that of other nations in this province and that of other immigrant and cultural groups in tis province.”

Mark suggested the new museum will help BC meet its “commitments” under the legislature’s Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

“It’s part of our call to action that we have a duty to respond to.”

The minister also got personal: noting she only learned while attending university that her own grandparents had attended a residential school.

“I didn’t know for two decades of my life what happened in this province and what happened in this country.

“Museums are important institutions to understand the past and what it means to move forward,” Mark added.

“The new facility is going to have a dedicated site for the Indigenous collections. That was the call to action from our engagement with Indigenous nations.”

All very revealing.

Because I could not help but notice … while making SEVERAL references to the importance of a new museum in telling First Nations’ history in BC … the remarks of the Minister (of all British Columbians?) lacked ANY mention of the DUTY of the museum to also tell the FULL story and pay tribute to the massive contributions of Europeans to BC’s history as well.

Let’s keep it real: it was the explorers, pioneers and immigrants from Europe (Britain, France, Holland, Germany, Italy, Russia, Ukraine etc.) who BUILT BC’s communities, DEVELOPED BC’s lands, FARMED BC’s fields, MINED BC’s resources and DEVELOPED a BC society that helped make Canada so rich today … and despite its imperfections … a GREAT nation and democracy!

No mention from Mark about how important it is for the NDP museum to respect, commemorate BC’s European heritage.

Nor did she point to the contributions/sacrifices of millions of British Columbians from China, Japan, India, Philippines and other nations, whose stories also deserve to be told in the new museum.

The NDP Minister only referred REPEATEDLY to how important it will be to have the “BC Museum of History” tell the FULL First Nations narrative.

Remember, in December, the museum dismantled/removed its highly popular recreation Old Town, highlighting thousands of artifacts and showing the small-town lifestyle of non-Indigenous BC pioneers.

And removed the display re-creating the HMS Discovery’s ship quarters of Captain Vancouver’s 1792 landing in BC.

So the sense I get … from the government’s own statements and political involvement … is that the “new” BC Museum of History will indeed … as I wrote in my previous blog … feature more NDP-directed propaganda than unblemished, truthful BC history.

As for the price tag … it’s beginning to look like even a BILLION DOLLARS will not cover it!

With inflation expected to continue, and rise even more, interest rates, design costs, seismic work (including the usual “unforeseen problems” and, of course, the resulting higher construction costs over the next eight years … I predict the final total cost could hit as high as TWO BILLION!

Just think how that sum could instead improve health care, hospital waits and schools in BC … and maybe even lower BC’s highest gas taxes in North America!

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: Follow @harveyoberfeld on Twitter for FIRST ALERTS to all new postings on this Blog.)

This entry was posted in British Columbia, Media, National. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Role of Europeans (British, French, Dutch, Germans, Italians, Greeks etc.) Lacking in NDP Museum Press Conference

  1. D. M. Johnston says:

    “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”

    ? George Orwell, 1984

    As the NDP now enter into that dangerous field of altering the past to suit their future politcal needs, Horgan is, I believe, laying the groundwork for an electoral defeat on par with 2001.

    The Museum of BC is the symbol of BC not the Nisga and it the Nisga want a museum with alternate facts, they should build it, god knows they get a lot of federal money these days.

    What I see now is the great First Nations “grift” of Canada and our politicians are stupid enough to let it happen and our so called media is so inept, they don’t report on it.

    The big wedge issue is, of course the residential school debacle and the mishandling of it by government.

    From my point of view the residential school issue is in three parts:

    1) I believe the residential schools were formed as a Victorian era way of educating the local indigenous peoples so they could compete with the rest of society as their traditional way of life would soon disappear. Residential schools were probably seen as the cheapest option.

    2) Residential school abuse. The government contracted out to the religious orders to teach at the residential schools. Sexual and physical abuse was rampant and many children and families have been scared for life because of this.

    With the federal government too damn chicken to take on the religious orders that oversaw this abuse and remain chicken today. This fear of confronting the church, especially the catholic church means the feds pay “Dane Geld” every time a new grave site is found.

    3) The mass graves. First of all they are not mass graves with bodies dumped in a pit but rather the bodies are laid out in a grid fashion, which leaves one to believe that at one time the graves were marked but later not kept up.

    As far as I know, no forensic autopsies have been done as how these children died. This poses the question of child death rates of indigenous children pre residential schools, but as there were no grave yards prior to the religious orders, no real quantitative study can be made. How were deceased indigenous children treated prior to the residential schools?

    Every-time a new set of graves are discovered, out comes the drums, the wailing of old women and out comes the Federal cheque book. its the perfect grift, but more and more the public are growing fed up with it. A perfect grift.

    So back to the museum, you got it right the first time, pure “Brownwash” by a premier who reads George Orwell and we, the proles, just pay and pat and pay.

    Postscript. My Great Grandfather, George Elliott, was mill manager at the Chemainus sawmill and later mill manager and minority share holder at, what was then the most modern sawmill on the pacific coats, at Genoa Bay (next to Cowichan Bay) until he passed in 1922. According to my Nan, a 5 foot tall, 90 pound ball of fire, hired many Cowichan first nation workers because they were very hard workers and very honest people. It was Cowichan “Stevadores” (Stevadore was a honoured professional name for those loading ships) could hand load a sailing ship faster than anyone else and were in high demand in the day and paid very well for their services.

    (Response: You raise several issues/opinions/concerns that I believe are shared by many British Columbians and DESERVE serious questioning by the BC media. Unfortunately, too many of them are so intimidated or co-opted or incompetent they fail in their DUTY to raise ANY of them with politicians or First Nations spokespersons themselves. REAL reconciliation requires REAL dialogue … and any “modernized” museum must tell the unvarnished TRUTH, even if some of it is uncomfortable … for Europeans AND First Nations. h.o.)

  2. Art Smith says:

    Hi Harvey, I don’t wish to be redundant, so I will just say, see my post to your last entry. The way this government has rolled this out, and the way it appears to most observers, your guesstimate of $2 billion may be way short. We are so screwed!

    (Response: I believe we MUST keep at this one …even if we are being redundant. There is SO MUCH public money at stake … plus the evidence is mounting that the government is turning the well-respected Royal BC Museum into a political propaganda machine to continue it limitless pandering to First Nations and push a partisan NDP interpretation of history. The next step: watch for changes to the Museum board and maybe even Administration as the government puts the “proper” people in place to carry out their NDP agenda. h.o)

  3. nonconfidencevote says:

    A billion dollar anti colonial love fest.

    One wonders who will visit it other than the occasional first nations student doing research?

    I’m sure Global tv’s Neetu Garcha will be there on opening day in 2032 , to give us the breathless sales pitch on why we should be grateful we handed out $2 billion for this monument to NDP appeasement.

    The entire justification of this “white” elephant reminds me of the
    Museum of Civilization in Gatineau Quebec ….
    Or the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg….

    I guess it’s the BC Taxpayers turn to build and pay for a monstrosity of Cultural apology.

    I for one.
    Will never set foot in it.

    (Response: I would visit. I enjoy museums and I would certainly want to see: what the final $2 Billion project buys; what artifacts (from ALL BC peoples) are on display; and see if/how the “information” provided tells the true history of BC .. including the accomplishments/failings of ALL … or is just government-scripted propaganda that disrespects the TRUTH and every British Columbia taxpayer. h.o)

  4. john says:

    And how much are the indigenous going to put into this ‘museum’? Probably about zero dollars (and then complain it’s not quite what they wanted).

    (Response: Put money INTO it??? I wouldn’t be surprised if some bands demand … and the NDP agrees to pay … RENT money for indigenous artifacts. h.o)

  5. e.a.f. says:

    at this point in time the cost of a new museum is a tad much along with the $100M to the Japanese community–although I do believe something important ought to be done regarding their history in this province.

    We’re talking a billion dollars here. Usually I don’t have a problem with things such as that, but right now, we are still trying to get Princeton, Merrit, Lytton, and the Fraser Valley farmers back on their feet. That is a first priority in my books. Then there is the no small issue of under paid doctors, lack of income for seniors living below the poverty line. Before we build the museum I’d like those things taken care of.

    I suspect the current museum building does have “issues” and given there are remarkable collections in there, they need to be protected. Move them to a better building and wait until we get through the current crisis we are in. We’ve had two devastating fire seasons and we don’t know what this summer will bring or cost.

    As to the Indigenous cultural collections, my suggestion is, we give them back to the Indigenous cultures they were stolen from. It would be much less expensive to have a number of smaller museums around the province, which people then in those areas could appreciate the collections from their area. It could also be used for tourism purposes. We have tourism having wine tours, well it would be incredible to have museum tours to various parts of the province, so those areas could benefit from more tourists.

    Now the Indigenous history is very important, they were here first, however, at one time the population was made up of 1/3 European descent, , people of colour. Indigenous people — interesting documentary outlines it all on Channel 5. We need to deal with how the Chinese labourers came here, their living conditions–a friend of mine’s father had to pay the head tax to come into Canada, The Japanese experience including people going to the camps. Then we need to inform future generations about the South Asian immigrants coming to Canada–not a great experience, but they went on to contribute to our province. Thea great interview on Knowledge network with the first South Asian doctor in B.C., the first Asian lawyer in B.C. They had struggles and that needs to be included.

    there are others from Asian who immigrated to Canada and made contributions, along with those from Europe and Americans–slaves who escaped to B.C. and established the first school on Salt Spring Island.

    If we need a billion dollars for this museam we can start by fund raising, just like Children’s hospital had to do.

    The museum is a great idea, but just not right now unless fund raising is done to pay at least half of it.

    (Response: As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy museums: one of my favorite stops in many of the cities I visit. Great way to learn about the people, the history and the culture of a place. Often make repeat visits. BUT only if they have interesting artifacts, well-developed displays … and they tell the TRUTH … complete with blemishes/failings on ALL sides. I don’t get the sense that will be the case of BC’s “new” museum with the NDP interfering and sticking its nose and fingers into the story-telling aspects of the narrative … especially when it comes to the First Nations. So I fear the Royal will be replaced with $2 Billion joke … but taxpayers won’t be laughing. h.o)

    • nonconfidencevote says:

      Thats quite a wish list eaf.
      I think we’ll need $10 Billion to pay for it.

  6. T.S. says:

    So right!!! When has the government ever been on budget????
    Two billion is likely a more realistic estimate not to mention twice as long as long!!!! NUTS!!!?

    (Response: Right … I forgot about the “timing” factor: eight years could prove optimistic! h.o)

  7. Keith says:

    Chek news in Victoria ask on every 5 P,M, newscast ask a poll questing. A couple of nights ago the question was;

    Will the Royal BC Museum replacement project make it less likely you’ll vote for the NDP in the next provincial election?

    Yes it will 69.75 % ( 4081 votes) No it wont. 30.25% (1770 votes)

    We can safely assume that most of the respondents were from the Island, apart from the 2 Green MLAS it’s NDP from top to bottom. The Parksville Qualicum riding historically would elect a fire hydrant if it ran for the Liberals but in 2020 they voted NDP winning by a decent margin, 42%, Liberal 35% of the vote. Horgan won a majority based on his own personal popularity and a masterpiece of timing, going on to maintain his own personal popularity which in part I believe has carried his party as well as the handling of covid which for the most part is excellent, during this time he was the most popular premier in Canada.

    Within a couple of weeks after the announcement of the museum debacle that popularity has taken a hammering with incoming from everywhere and everyone. Any chance of repeating an election win, majority or minority is fast going out the window if the project proceeds which will be the gift that keeps on giving for the liberals, it’s not like it is some theoretical concept or a project in some remote part of the province, it going to be ongoing and down the street from the leg with the dust from the demolition settling o the Leg. Any close ridings they scooped from the liberals will be gone, Falcon and the back room gang will have enough time to figure that out.

    What struck me at the time was the original announcement was on the afternoon of Friday the 13th ( the omen of things to come?), garbage day when usually bad news is dumped by governments, if they were so sure that the hoi poloi would be jumping up and down with glee, why not have waited until the following Monday.? And as we all know it isn’t getting any better, every time they spin, asbestos, seismic to old etc. a deluge of more deserving cases appear. Then we have the big splash announcement of the business case with heavy redactions, and maybe there are god reasons for those redactions, but what did they think would be the narrative after the preceding one screw up after the other.?

    Coming from London England I have spent more time than I can remember in some of the best museums in the world, and understand the importance of such, but this is the wrong project at the wrong time, for the wrong reasons, and especially just for Horgan to slap himself on the back driving past it after he has been voted out, or he knows he isn’t running again.

    Green MLA Adam Olsen a member of the Tsartlip First Nation sums it up nicely..

    (Response: Really not surprising that, in a poll taken by a Victoria radio station, a proposal to build ANY public project worth a BILLION DOLLARS gets approval. Capital cities everywhere are notoriously insulated from the same degree of economic stresses and underfunding felt in other communities … especially rural areas. I suspect the NDP is counting on a better economy and election goodies to soothe the save breast of the voter when the next election happens in 2024. But I’m not so sire that will work this time ..especially if costs run higher than “expected” (LOL!) and design/seismic work/construction takes longer than “estimated” (Double LOL!) h.o.)

    • John's Aghast says:

      Beats me how they can ‘fine tune’ the price to the last million dollar! Are they sure it w0n’t be $789.5 million? Hope they didn’t use the same estimator that they did on Site C!

  8. Jimbo says:

    At the risk of being brief – I smell a hint of racism. All immigrants know their history –
    few understand the history of the indigenous.

    (Response: If there’s any “racism”, it seems to be more on the government’s side! When a Culture Minister makes SEVERAL references, over and over again, at a press conference to what/how the “new” museum will showcase the Indigenous history/experiences … but doesn’t even mention how the importance and contributions of Europeans, Asians, etc. will be displayed/portrayed, it sure looks like a terrible double standard to me. Especially when it was on her government’s watch that Old Town was dismantled and removed! h.o)

  9. Gilbert says:

    Melanie Mark must have forgotten that English and French are the official languages of Canada. To begin her announcement in a language very few people speak was unnecessary. Frankly, so few speak it that her ability in the language is very difficult to evaluate.

    When BC has so many economic problems, we don’t need to spend so much money on a new museum. To highlight native culture, we can have small museums around the province.

    To ignore or forget the contributions of the many people who came to Canada from all over the world is wrong. The fact is Canada was not a country before the French and English arrived. No amount of revisionism will ever change that.

    • nonconfidencevote says:

      Yes , the language or the “unseeded lands” .
      Which begs the question ……when did “conquered” become “unseeded”?
      Not to mention the fact that there were NO written languages for aboriginals in their dialects until a Residential school teacher created one over 100 years ago.,system%20spread%20among%20the%20Cree.

      Now 150 years after a residential school teacher created the written language embraced by First Nations??
      We have road signs and building names with unpronounceable, incomprehensible letters, numbers and apostrophes’.
      It might as well be in Greek or Cyrillic Russian for all the sense it makes in todays’ world. Two official languages in Canada until Trudeau and his band of Woke apologist appeasement monkeys flay themselves with more billions in reparation handouts.
      Can a Welfare nation exist if no one works and everyone is a lotus eater?
      Seems our esteemed PM is going to try and find out.

  10. max avelli says:

    FYI Harv,

    CHEK is not a radio station in Victoria. It is a TV station. Geez!

    I can only wonder where you get your information from.

    (Response: TV or radio …the point remains: “Really not surprising that, in a poll taken by a Victoria (TV) station, a proposal to build ANY public project worth a BILLION DOLLARS gets approval. ” h.o)

  11. r says:

    A terrible terrible time for a museum reboot
    Medicine not museum!

Comments are closed.