Renaming

Port Alberni, BC, City Councillor Chris Alemany wants to rename Neill street and A.W. Neill Elementary school because A.W. Neill was an Indian agent, the mayor of Port Alberni and an island MP (Member of Parliament) from 1921 to 1945. During his time in office, he was a strong supporter of Japanese internment. He was also unusually bigoted toward indigenous people. City council turned Alemany down.

Alemany’s request seems reasonable. We should not honour those whom most people today consider bigoted.

However, there is a catch. Consider how many American Presidents kept slaves. Consider that nearly everyone prior to 1970 was a bigot toward gays, the Chinese, black, east Indian and indigenous people. Erasing these bigots from history will not erase the effects of their deeds. It will also make people lower their guard against modern bigots.

There is also the practical matter of the cost of renaming almost every street and school named after a historic person.

~ Roedy (1948-02-04 age:69)