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Vancouver School Welcomes Stylized Swastika as “Art”

July 3rd, 2017 · 25 Comments

Has the world of political correctness gone insane? Or is it just selectively applied?

Christmas trees, saying “Merry Christmas”,  Hanukkah Menorahs are no longer welcome in many public schools or spaces … for fear of disrespecting those who do not follow the Christian or Jewish faith.

But apparently the Swastika is quite welcome … if it is presented as a “spindle whirl” First Nations piece of “art” … the sensitivities of the 50 million people who died because of what the Swastika stood for during World War II be damned!

The Swastika piece …   sorry, the spindle whirl piece … was carved for Vancouver’s west side University Hill Secondary School by its Salish “artist in residence” and was even WELCOMED and “blessed” in a special ceremony.   And it is scheduled to be displayed permanently in the school.

This is from the Internet:

University Hill Secondary Awards Ceremony 2017

Who funded it?

How could University Hill Secondary School and the Vancouver School Board  … who are supposed to create spaces where ALL students feel safe, respected and protected … accept and welcome any art that even remotely looks like a Swastika  … and agree to display it?

Have they forgotten the 44,000 CANADIANS who gave their lives in the Second World War fighting what the Swastika proclaimed… and the 54,000 CANADIANS who were injured in that fight … many of whom still suffer from the wounds and nightmares. Not to mention the sadness, loss and broken lives of their siblings, friends and all their relations.

Does Remembrance Day mean anything to Vancouver school officials … beyond just a ceremony and a day off?

What are University Hill Secondary and the VSB saying to children who have seen tattooed numbers on the forearms of their grandparents and great grandparents …. not only the 6 Million Jewish victims under the Swastika but the 5 Million others as well

What about other kids today who were never able to enjoy the love or companionship of a grandparent or great-grandparent taken so young in the fight against what the  Swastika stood for!    What are THEY  to think now as they see that symbol welcomed into their school,  even in stylized form?

Accepting this stylized Swastika … or displaying it … in my view insults the sacrifice of so many Canadians of EVERY faith, EVERY race, EVERY ethnicity … including the many First Nations warriors who served and sacrificed valiantly in Canada’s armed forces during the Second World War and since.

Salish Spindle Whirl OR Swastika

Is this the best symbol of Salish culture they could come up with to be displayed before children in University Hill Secondary?

The Swastika … in ANY form …stylized or not … has NO PLACE being welcomed ANYWHERE in Canada …  in ANY public place … especially a school!

And don’t give me those tired old arguments that the Swastika is actually an ancient symbol embraced in several ancient cultures.  So were, at some time,  long white robes, hoods and even the burning of crosses.

Historical context is no excuse for displaying ANY symbols clearly identified TODAY as promulgating hate, racism and violence. Where does the Swastika fit in with the idea of mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation?

Are U-Hill and VSB officials afraid to stand up  …. just because the “art” was done by a Salish artist?

This piece of “art” should have been rejected and now should be returned to the artist as unsuitable and unwelcome in any Vancouver public school.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this BC and Canadian blog by following on Twitter. No spam ..just First Alerts to new blog pieces. )


Tags: British Columbia · National

25 responses so far ↓

  • 1 13 // Jul 3, 2017 at 7:21 am

    Harvey you asked and answered your own question. YES in this day and age its not acceptable to question the talents, motives, or financial positions of the Salish or any First Nations peoples.

    (Response: I believe almost every Salish and other First Nations member who knows ho many First Nations fighters fought in the Canadian Armed Services and won honours during World War II would reject this piece as suitable for acceptance and display in any school as the best example of their culture. h.o)

  • 2 nonconfidencevote // Jul 3, 2017 at 7:42 am

    The media wont touch this with a 10 foot barge pole.

    Not to worry Harvey.
    It creates discussion about an event that is slowly being forgotten or ignored.
    History being rewritten to question whether 6 million people were exterminated ( or was it 0ne million according to Holocaust deniers which begs the question. 1 million or 6 is still horrific isnt it?) or should I say deliberately ignored…all in the guise of political correctness and pandering to a “special group”.
    I see that the statue of “the hanging judge” Mathew Begbie is now being considered for removal outside the New West lawcourts building. Because of his “crimes” against First Nations 125 years ago. A different time when cultures smashed headlong into each other and politics, ignorance and money ruled the day
    ( come to think of it….seems like not much has changed).
    Or the Confederate Statues in the southern US States being hauled down everywhere.
    They remind people of an “ugly time’ in their historical past and make them uncomfortable.
    Never mind the discussions of right and wrong it may initiate or the fact that society has admitted its failures and attempted to rewrite past wrongs….
    No …….Lets smash all the statues, burn the flags, rewrite the history books, revamp what we teach children in schools, burn the old books, threaten people with “hate crimes” if they speak out and dont forget to hand out cash as compensation to the 3rd generation descendants victims…because….ultimately…… its about compensation.

    (Response: Although I am deeply saddened and sickened by the horrors suffered by 6 million Jewish people in the camps (the largest single group singled out for extermination) we must not forget the other 5 million (socialists, trade unionists, gays, Russians, Poles, etc.) who were also interned, suffered and were killed there. And how a VSB secondary school could have accepted this “art” that so closely resembles the Swastika, under which the horrors took place, appals me. h.o)

  • 3 BMCQ // Jul 3, 2017 at 8:34 am

    Well said Harvey I agree 100%.

    Seems that whether it be in Vancouver, Ottawa, most other parts of Canada, the U.S., the EU or anywhere else in the Western World Political Correctness only goes one way.

    Everything goes except for something that might favour or “Shine a Light” on something that reflects positively on a message or display highlighting the Jewish or Christian Faiths.

    The Hanging should not be displayed in any Public Building in B.C. Or anywhere else in Canada. I would guess that the Artist did not intend to offend anyone but let us be honest here, in today’s society in Canada there is NO Group that is more sensitive to anything that could be construed as insensitive to their “Ways” and their Culture than The First Nations, time to re-think this project.

    When I was young and growing up in Vancouver our next door neighbors were survivors of the Camps and they were much like Grand Parents to me. I did not know the whole story but they both had the numbered Tattoos and I actually touched them when I was pre School. I will never forget that.

    I believe knowing them and understanding just some of what they endured made me a much better person than I might have been.

    Yes I know know most of you do not see that but……

    Same thing extends to Universities or Colleges when it involves Guest Speakers.

    It was only a few years ago when the Little Weazel that was President of Iran Achmadinejad and he was invited to speak at an Ivy League School like
    Princeton where he spoke about many normally unacceptable things but he was welcomed.

    At about the same time the Conservative, very accomplished, and important Condoleezza Rice was shouted down by a group of Left Wing Anarchist Activists who also blocked the stage.

    Interesting how it is always the Left that call for “Freedom of Speech” but they are the first ones to deny it if someone Conservatives speaks up.

    Hmmm, much some of those on this Blog don’t you think? I am “Aghast”!

    Your Blog then begs another question and a point or two.

    And just who is Funding the salary and Expenses of the FN Artist in a Vancouver school?

    Just Who made that decision and made that Appointment?

    How much is this “Boondoggle” costing Tax Payers that are struggling with high rents and huge Mortgages?

    Do the Tax Payers Fund any other such “Boondoggles in our Province, Country, or Cities for that matter?

    Will the “Two Headed Monster of Horgan and Weaver be re appointing the hateful and very divisive Patti Bacchus, her Puppet Lombardi and the rest as VSB? Yikes!

    It is long past time for Politicians to get the message that “The Great Unwashed” are more than fed up with Government Waste, we are mad as hell and we will not take it any more!

    One last thing, I am going to go out on a Limb and suggest that your opinion on this will not get much agreement and the thread itself will not attract much in the way of replies.

    You may get one or two claiming that you are reading too much into this or some that suggest an over reaction on your part and that to me is disappointing.

    I have noticed this in the past when you either defend Israel or speak favorably the Jewish People or their Culture.

    Perhaps I am way off base on this and I apologize if I am but I do not see much understanding, sympathy, or respect for the Jewish State on this Blog or from those that we might consider Enlightened Politically Correct Left of Centre Liberals.
    I do not always agree with you on your opinions but I commend you for your Honest, Thoughtful, Fair and Balanced Analysis on any Subject you address.

    Now let’s see what kind of feedback you receive on this.

    (Response: I don’t know the artist and couldn’t care who it is or whether the similarity was intentional. But surely any artist selected and honoured as artist in residence at a school should have the sensitivity …and the intelligence …to portray art that can tell a story without potentially hurting, insulting or scaring children, their families and so many Canadian veterans and citizens. h.o.)

  • 4 Gene The Bean // Jul 3, 2017 at 9:18 am

    Political correctness is alive and well and it has always been with us, just in slightly different forms. It is now championed by the rabid right just like ‘fake news’ and ‘immigrants and brown people are bad.’ To me, PC has to mature and grow with the times, as it has always done, unlike the people that like to use it for their own selfish reasons.

    I hear what you are saying and you make valid and easily agreeable points. I do agree – and then I don’t.

    You point out the use of the “swastika” like symbols throughout history. That is true. Why? Because that ‘design’ has symmetry.

    I am easily offended and I am not offended by this piece.

    My opinion is that there was no malice or intentions other than to give a piece of art symmetry and in this case, perceived motion or movement.

    I hear you but I think there are bigger fish to fry.

    The ‘native’ aspect just doesn’t fly for me in this case either.

    I am one of Israel’s biggest defenders on almost every issue. Sorry Harvey, I just don’t see this as an issue.

    (Response: Clearly we disagree. I don’t question the artist’s right to portray any subject he likes …but NOT anything close to a Swastika or burning cross or ISIS symbol or anything else like that for school children in a public institution, especially if funded by public sources. Especially when so many today are so responsive to others’ sensitivities that they want Christmas trees banned! But not Swastika-like images?? h.o)

  • 5 Marge // Jul 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

    If this were done by a right wing Christian artist there would be hell to pay. Because it is a First Nations artist it is totally acceptable.

    Having had relatives who died in the concentration camps I am appalled. Shocked – yes. Surprised – not at all. Everything goes – as long it is leftist leaning these days. Everything else is wrong according to the PC following. Say anything against a “leftist” policy, you are in the wrong. Say anything against a Christian or Jewish philosophy you are welcomed with open arms these days.

    (Response: I agree. In fact, I’d bet that even if an “artist in residence” carved a large crucifix or a menorah as symbolic of man’s liberation and/or redemption …the VSB would not accept, welcome or display it. This Swastika-like “art” should be returned to sender. h.o.)

  • 6 Island Lookout // Jul 3, 2017 at 9:35 am


    I was lucky enough to be born in the dying days of World War 2.

    And I was lucky enough to have my parents take my siblings and I to the Soviet Union, in 1965 and to Western Europe in 1955 (where war damage was still evident and a lesson in itself).

    All those times in my life tie together in what is my life-long remembrance of that war and its unending unintended consequences.

    And they are legion.

    And now we have this swastika-looking art piece to look at. A damnable waste of tax dollars, here.

    For those Coastal Salish artists involved who, it seems to me, are apparently beyond criticism and reproach in our age of political correctness, I have this advice from a “settler:”

    Study your history.

    Don’t “whitewash” the painful past, any past, with revisionism and propaganda.

    In this particular case study WW2.


    Because it teaches a lesson of what happens when “our betters” put a group of people on a pedestal.

    Bad things WILL happen, to the rest of us eventually.

    I also urge those Coastal Salish artists to talk to their elders and ask them how many family or tribal members fought in that war. A few is my feeling. And they’ll be mostly gone by now, sadly.

    I also recommend a history book to those artists:

    “Absolute War” by British military historian, Chris Bellamy, the story of the German (Nazi) invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941 and of the tens of millions of soldiers and civilians who perished in that fight.

    AND visit the St. Petersburg, Russia, Website and look at the pictures of the huge cemetery in the northeast part of that great city, where half a million Russian dead lie buried.

    They were city residents, victims of the 900-day seige of Leningrad 1941-44. Total losses were actually 600-thousand civilians, and thousands more soldiers.

    All died either from war wounds, starvation or the cold.

    St. Petersburg is at the same latitude as Whitehorse, Yukon!

    When I was in Leningrad in 1965 my folks and siblings visted that cemetery.

    I didn’t.

    Because I was in hospital recovering from an appendectomy.

    My life was saved by four women surgeons, all of whom likely served as war-time medics 20 years before they operated on me.

    Now that’s being touched by history.

    BTW, the operation was so urgent by the time I got to the hospital that the doctors used only a local anaesthetic on me.

    So wake up all you “artists”, our future “betters”, and put your lucky lives into some kind of historic context.

    Many have gone before and you are apparently ignorant of their passing.

    They made things good for you. and so did the “settlers.”

    (Response: Thanks. Great info. I don’t know for sure if this was funded by public sources .. but I’d bet on it! Hopefully, the media will go after this (today being a holiday, VSB is closed …but this will not go away tomorrow) … were public funds involved, how, what was spent and what happens to the piece now??? h.o)

  • 7 DBW // Jul 3, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Interesting story. I tried to find more on it but can’t. When was the ceremony? What did the artist say about the piece? Has their been a response from the Jewish community?

    In my search I did find this, a much more obvious swastika so, as a Salish symbol, it is been around longer than the Nazi symbol.

    When we see obvious hateful use of the swastika we should be rightfully offended but until we know the motivation of the artist and the reaction of Jewish people, I am not sure if it does us any good to be outraged or defensive.+

    (Response: This is a HO scoop. Happened around June 26 .. No coverage of this in media …yet. Probably didn’t know. We’ll see what happens now. And although some people think about Jewish Holocaust tragedy as soon as Swastika stories come up, my outrage goes well beyond …to the 50 million in the world who lost their lives in World War II (and the suffering of all their families and those who suffered under occupation) because of what the Swastika stood for. We owe it to THEM to make sure Swastika-like images … deliberate or not ….are NOT celebrated or welcomed before our kids, grand kids etc. h.o)

  • 8 e.a.f. // Jul 3, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    yA, THAT ain’t much of a piece of art. Of course art is in the eye of the beholder.

    IF that is the best the VSB can do, they might want to have a drive up Vancouver Island and check into any number of Galleries which represent First Nations Coast Salish art. They could have gotten better art at a better price. having viewed a lot of Coast Salish art over my life time, just can’t say I’ve ever seen anything quite like that. perhaps its an artist’s idea of a joke, a Swastika in front of a public school in a very upscale neighbourhood and having all those around complement it as wonderful art. sort of like the emperor has no cloths moments,.

    Agree with Marge and Island Lookout.

  • 9 Rhett // Jul 3, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    Harvey I think when it comes to symbols stylized in images you have to consider intent.  Did the artist intend to allude to Nazi-ism?  Who knows, but I’m doubtful.

    Look at the COV Parking Enforcement patch.  

    I know they’re called parking Nazis but I doubt they intended to replace the Dogwood flower in the crest with a swastika.  

    You may be reading something into this where it doesn’t exist.  

  • 10 noneck // Jul 3, 2017 at 10:23 pm

    If this piece of art was commissioned by the VSB, then would it have been approved solely by Dianne Turner, the Ministry of Education’s appointed “Official Trustee”? Just wondering.

    (Response: Hopefully, the media will ask the remaining questions … you know, the basics: how? why? what happens now? And who paid? h.o)

  • 11 BMCQ // Jul 4, 2017 at 7:23 am

    Neck – 10

    I was originally wondering the same thing.

    I then perhaps incorrectly concluded that the so-called Creator of the Hanging to be “In Residence” and therefore brought on by the former Bacchus or Lombardi Led VSB.

    Of course there were also two VSB Chairs from the once very effective NPA Party as well.

    Let us hope that someone in MSM will make the effort to ask the questions of the VSB and the Mayor to at least get something on record regarding this.

    Tax Payers need to know how much this costs them, are there any other similar arrangements anywhere in the Province, how much do they cost, who made the decisions, will they immediately do away with/cancel each and every one of those appointments if they exist.

    I hope I am incorrect on this but I am beginning to think the most we hear from MSM on this is a big stretch and a yawn.

    I have just taken another look at the piece and honestly it looks nothing like what I would expect to see in Native Art Work.

    (Response: The VSB was closed Monday, so I am hoping the media ask questions about this story today. And maybe even the Canadian Legion should have something to say. Respect and reconciliation should go both ways. h.o)

  • 12 d.j.f. // Jul 4, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Harvey, methinks you have gone a tad overboard here – making a mountain out of a mole hill, so to speak. How “white” of you! Would the artist’s piece be more acceptable to you and other commenters above if the 4 salmon were facing left? If 3 fish, were depicted, others would have criticized the piece for being “too Christian”. If 5 fish depicted, the criticism would be “it represents a pentagram”, thus witchcraft.(OMG!)

    This is the artist’s creation, more than likely done without thought of Naziism. Perhaps you should ask if the 4 fish facing right is symbolic in First Nations art.

    (Response: I did not say the art had to be “white”. As someone who has put his money where his mouth is I have bought and featured First Nations art in my home …and I can assure you there are plenty of other themes available to native artists when asked to do a piece of art, especially if it is to be displayed permanently in a public school! Really, should Jewish kids, teachers, visitors and others who lost parents, grandparents and great grandparents fighting the Swastika have to look at ..or even worse, pay for …what sure looks like a stylized Swastika hanging in that school?? Political correctness gone mad! These people deserve EVERY BIT of sympathy and understanding they are asked to show others. h.o)

  • 13 e.a.f. // Jul 4, 2017 at 11:19 am

    one could look at the piece and say this is some one’s idea of a “joke/irony”, they’ve paid an Indigenous artist to put up a swastika in front of a “white” school. when one looks back over our short history the school out at U.B.C. was mainly made up of the children of rhe financial elites.

    When you consider the Anthropology Museum at UBC holds an amazing collection of Indigenous art and artifacts and you get to thinking, how was it all acquired, then go back and look at things from the point of view of an Indigenous artist, who knows perhaps that was the artist’s intent, to him and some of his people we the European descent types are not better than the Nazi’s.

    O.K. no one get mad but I was letting my mind wander. My view point on the “piece” is at @8

    As to suggesting the MSM ask the VSB about this piece, don’t expect any of them to go out and make that enquiry. Nor expect the VSB to respond to this blog should some one sent it to them.

    The VSB, in this case would rather walk around naked and know about it than be handed and coat to be put on and therefore acknowledging they have no cloths or rather the emperor has no cloths.

    On the other hand the art might just be a piece of art. The artist never gave any of it any thought. We see swastika’s all over the place as graffiti but how many young people actually know what it symobolizes.?

    I suspect a lot of commenting here are aging baby boomers so we know what it means. Now go ask your grandchildren what it means to them? You’d be surprised what you get as answers.

    (Response: I would not disagree with the artist’s right to his own artistic expression in a personal or private location. But I believe it’s unacceptable as art to be displayed in any public facility … especially a school. h.o)

  • 14 Hawgwash // Jul 4, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Harvey at post 13;
    (Response: I would not disagree with the artist’s right to his own artistic expression in a personal or private location. But I believe it’s unacceptable as art to be displayed in any public facility … especially a school. h.o)

    That’s about all I can really agree with.

    Based on location, I can guess there has been funding for programs, maybe even the arts, by the Jewish community and perhaps it’s up to them to object.

    Or not.

    (Edited…off topic.)

  • 15 Harry lawson // Jul 4, 2017 at 3:30 pm


    Unless learn from history we are destined to repeat it.

    That being said we have been fortunate not to have live with the reality of the nazi party for over 60 years.

    Wether it was intentional or not , the symbolic likeness to the swastika should have been caught by those we entrust to educate our children. I would be truly interested in the mechanics of the approval process. Is the next art piece going to depict a totem done like a burning cross ?

  • 16 jay // Jul 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm


    I tend to agree that you may be going a little overboard here. In fact I think you need to look at a little history.
    The swastika has existed long before the nazis put it on their flag.
    It was a sun symbol. A symbol of luck and prosperity in many cultures all over the world.
    It was even used in catholic drawings.
    To eliminate any reference to said symbol would mean you want buddhist temples defaced or destroyed. Catholic items defaced or destroyed. Nordic, pheonician, greek and numerous other cultures ancient historical artifacts defaced or destroyed.
    Honestly what you are suggesting is similar to what Hitler did and ISIS is doing, destroying our history Destroying freedom of speech and expression.
    I doubt very much there was any ill intent on the part of the artist. I have studied world history and WW2 for decades and i looked at this and saw 4 fish swimming in a circle, not a symbol of hate.
    If we are going to continue to give credence to the nazis by saying anything that looks like a swastika is nazi racist and antisemite and not look at it like those that did far before the nazis as a symbol of peace, hope and good fortune, then Hitler has truly won and his reich will last a 1000 years.

    (Response: I never said it should be destroyed or not even banned from private collections or displays. But I believe it is HIGHLY inappropriate for a public school or any public building. I doubt a piece of “art” so potentially offensive and so closely tied to the wholesaler massacre of Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists or First Nations would EVER be accepted or displayed in a public school anywhere else in Canada. Why should those for whom this symbol carries such horrific meaning be subjected to having it in their school! h.o)

  • 17 jay // Jul 4, 2017 at 5:58 pm


    Most public schools and buildings have flags including the union jack and american flag somewhere in their premises.
    These flags were at the head of armies that massacred and enslaved the same first nations, muslims and sikhs you are talking about and i have not heard word one from you or anyone else about excluding them.
    Our children need to learn from our history..all of it..good and bad. It is imperative that they learn the lessons of the nazis so that they can identify them and not let them come to pass again. Hiding this history will only mean they are not prepared for it.
    It’s interesting though, i have shown this picture to a dozen people and not one thought it was a swastika. It wasn’t until they were told it was being looked at as one that they tilted their heads and said ok i can sorta see that.
    Honestly i think the people who see this as a symbol of the nazis are those that want it to be. No one looks at a statue of buddha with this symbol over his chest and calls it a nazi symbol, unless that is all they can see.

  • 18 BMCQ // Jul 5, 2017 at 5:40 am

    jay – 17

    It is very early here so there is only one thing I can think of to say say.


  • 19 DBW // Jul 5, 2017 at 8:50 am

    1. We still have no background from the artist, the school or even any of the groups that you have suggested my be offended, yet here we are stating opinions.

    2. You keep using quotation marks around the word art. You may not like this piece of work for aesthetic reasons. You may not like this piece of work because you are offended. But, it is still ART.

    3. Thank you to Jay for writing a thoughtful rebuttal. Whether we agree with him or not it deserves more than a “crickets” especially from the person who was questioning how people would respond.

    4. Who owns the design/symbol. Not for one minute do I believe that the artist had any other intention than to express a First Nations motif. (Like Jay I asked a few people and the consensus -not a swastika.) Intent is extremely important. If people want to see something (penises in the clouds of Disney movies?) that isn’t there, then I am not sure what to suggest.

    5. Art – without the quotation marks -is supposed to provoke discussion. So here we are. The swastika has been around for centuries. I ask again who owns the design. And I am not referring to the obvious symbol used by the Nazis in the context of Neo Nazi hate groups. Because a madman chose that symbol for his flag, does that mean it can never be used in any context, in any form, ever again. Talk about cultural appropriation.

    6. Having said all that, my opinion could still change when I hear opinions from people representing groups who may find this design offensive.

    7. I see you are on to another topic. If the press does decide to cover it please let us know.

    (Response: I heard about this from the parents of a child attending that school.. He WAS offended and the parents ARE appalled. As for the local media not covering it…that’s their problem, not mine. Strange thing is I believe if it had happened in Toronto or Montreal and media there had done a piece on it…ie did the work …I’d bet they’d print, run it here! Still time, of course, This symbol of hatred will no doubt evoke angry reactions as more and more parents etc see it and speak up about it. h.o)

  • 20 BMCQ // Jul 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

    DBW – 19

    Actually if you re-read my Post you will see that people here have responded exactly the way I stated.

    Right down to where I said there would not be many replies.

    Again, that is always the case for many that Post here when it comes to supporting Israel and or the Jewish People.

    I have made that observation more or less on a few other Topics regarding Israel and or the Jewish People Harvey has Posted and the facts speak for themselves.

    Oh and by the way, you may also notice that MSM would more or less ignore this whole story and it appears they have done just that.

    Then there is also the question of “WHO” Pays for this stuff? If the so-called Artist is “In Residence” how much is that costing the Tax Payer?

    Are there more examples of this in B.C.? If so how much are they costing the Tax Payer?

    Look DBW, there are now over 70,000 fewer Students in the Public School System in B.C. than 10 years ago so I do not believe we need any more BCTF Members.

    Oh, know you disagree with me on that but let me ask you this.

    You are a retired School Teacher and I am very sure that you were skilled, dedicated, and were a very valuable asset to the School and your Community. Of that I have no doubt.

    Don’t you believe that the money for the “Artist in Residence” could be used for something a little more appropriate?

    Oh and by the way, where have those over 70K fewer Students gone to from the Public School System?

    Did they vanish something like the Salmon?

  • 21 DBW // Jul 6, 2017 at 6:32 pm


    1. I have no idea what 70,000 fewer students has to do with this topic.

    2. A simple google search will give you information on the artist in residence program which has nothing to do with BCTF members.

    It brings a variety of artists – visual, dance, music, drama – into the schools for a few days so kids can learn from their expertise. Seems worthwhile.

    3. I am still not sure what you are saying about who will comment and how much etc. It seems to be some veiled criticism.

    4. If you are looking for discussion then you have to do better than “crickets” especially when someone takes the time to express a completely legitimate point of view as much as you may disagree.

    5. The media may not be covering this story because there may not be a story. Outside of the family that told Harvey of their concern who else has made this topic an issue.

    6. Speaking of which, I hope the family that told Harvey did more than just tell Harvey. I hope they went to the school and expressed their concern and hopefully met with the artist who may have explained why he chose the design he did. I believe it would be a great learning experience for everybody.

    7. If people feel strongly about this story then it is up to them to push it. Phone the school board or the school and get information. Again it may be a great learning experience. As valuable has Harvey’s blog can be, sometimes we need to do more than just complain on it.

    8. I still think we need information from the artist, the school, and any groups who may be offended before we express too strong an opinion. I don’t see a swastika. I see a First Nations design. I may be wrong. But it will take more than you or Harvey to convince me otherwise.

  • 22 BMCQ // Jul 7, 2017 at 9:23 am

    DBW – 21

    The comment about the fewer students simply supports my argument that we do not necessarily need more BCTF/Teachers but I would much rather see a good Teacher hired and employed to Teach or perform another valuable service to the benefits of Students anywhere in B.C. than see Tax Payer money used for Artists in Residence.

    No criticism of Teachers was intended at all, I have friends and families that are Teachers and I respect Teachers. I even took the time to pay you a compliment as I can tell by your time and commentary on this Blog that you were a great Teacher.

    Thank you for the link.

    3. it is only my opinion but I feel there is a certain level of Anti Israel sentiment on this Blog just as there is in our society in general. I do not think it is quite as serious as in the EU where it is outright Anti Semitic but none the less.

    I believe much of our Anti Israel bias in Canada comes from what we see in MSM regarding the Palestinian/Two State Conversation/Debate.

    4. You are correct, I was not very polite with my comment to Jay. Not anywhere near as rude as many Posters have been to me but that is another story. If I did not agree or wish to debate Jay I should have simply not commented on the Post.

    My sincere Apologies Jay, I take my “Crickets” back.

    As to the Design itself? I showed it to a Life Long Friend of mine who collects Indian (his word) Art whose Mother happened to be Coast Salish and he was not impressed. He said that “It’ looks like the Artist was trying too hard”.

    When I asked him what he thought it looked like he replied with the following, “Fish on a Stick”.

    Then asked him if he saw a Swastika and he said, “Now that you mention it yes, but I doubt if there was any intent”.

    Hopefully this Post has explained a thing or two.

  • 23 jay // Jul 8, 2017 at 12:40 am

    So here is the problem, once someone uses a symbol for hate, it must be condemned for eternity.
    The nazis used many symbols for themselves. They used most of the numbers from 1 to 10, they used norse symbols, they used buddist symbols, they used symbols from so many cultures that if we sit here and condemn them all we might as well stop allowing any art or symbols at all.
    The problem is that we need to educate our children on what certain symbols mean, yes the nazis used the swastika but so did many cultures thousands of years before them. If we suddenly decide to drop every symbol used by a hate group well we might as well get rid of every symbol because the majority of hate groups use many symbols that were not originally meant for hate as their banner.
    Numbers..1,2,3,4,5,6,8 are all used in aryan brotherhood rhetoric yet we teach them to our children.
    Let us stop hating a symbol and deal with the problem behind it. The nazis were terrible. They took many symbols and perverted their meaning, but let us not end the use of these symbols just because of that. Let us celebrate the real meaning of these symbols and teach our children why we chastise the wrong and celebrate the right.
    I have grand children and I would never celebrate the nazis but i would like them to know why we condemn them so they know how to stop their hateful rhetoric before it begins.

    (Response: Symbols ARE important … exactly because of what they stand for. I have no objection to any artist using whatever symbols they want to in private displays or collections. BUT when it comes to public spaces ..esp schools …great care should be taken not to offend, hurt or scare those who see it , esp children. A stylized Swastika is no more acceptable than a burning cross or even any image of Allah: if we can ensure those sensitivities are respected, I can’t understand why people would defend the idea of a Swastika like image being welcomed and displayed…. after 44,000 Canadians gave their lives … and 54,000 were wounded in battle … to obliterate what that stands for. h.o)

  • 24 DBW // Jul 8, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Been doing some research – for fun because I doubt anything I say will change minds. Perhaps Jay and BMCQ are still reading this.

    1. I don’t believe for a minute that this was a fluke. Regardless, the city was right to demand that the swastika be removed.

    2. For marketing purposes, there is no doubt that the company made the right decision to recall the boots.

    3. This gets more complicated. Student gets suspended for displaying a Hindu version of the swastika. In the article it is noted that several, Hindu, interfaith and (I wish to emphasize this) JEWISH groups defended the student and petitioned for the suspension to be rescinded.

    4. Germany has actually banned the swastike and other hateful symbols but only when used in the context of the Nazi party or other hate groups. They seem pretty clear that a symbol has to represent something in context. It is ok for it to be used in the promotion of art, religion, research etc.

    Despite their strict laws, I doubt very much that the Germans would demand that the piece of art displayed at University Hill be removed. Again I may be wrong. Perhaps somebody from Germany could help us.

    I have enjoyed this discussion.

  • 25 BMCQ // Jul 9, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    DBW – 24

    I for one appreciate you taking the time and making the effort to do the research on this topic.

    I believe you have added much to the conversation and I hope there are many still following this thread.

    I agree with you, that was no fluke and the story Illustrates to me that Cities, Provinces/States, Countries along wither responsible Corporations, private and public, along with other groups, Organizations, or Individuals should enforce some sort of guideline that ensures that inappropriate Symbols or Slogans are not allowed to be displayed in any way.

    Mail On Line hs some frivolous stories but they also provide much in the way of information and news that many others do not cover.
    I hope someone lost their job over the Boots.
    I believe there is more to this and without knowing more I would still stand by the suspension.

    In my experience I have often felt that far too many Jewish Groups and Individuals are far too Liberal for their own good and they in fact do harm to the Jewish State, Jewish People, and Judaism itself.

    All we need to do is look at most Jewish People in Entertainment. Too many of them that could have a great positive influence do not for some reason lead by example. Their actions/inactions has always concerned and saddened me.

    I have many close Jewish friends who are strong supporters of Israel and they are very critical of Jewish Entertainment Elites.

    I will be in Israel for two days in Oct. and Lok forward to it very much.

    I suppose we really do not have an answer as to whether would remove the Hanging would be removed in Israel but I tend to believe it would not be allowed to be displayed. Who really knows.

    Your Post has made this a much more interesting, informative, and insightful discussion.

    I wonder if you or anyone else has changed their mind on this?

    Thanks again!