THE BLOG

Dayleen Van Ryswyk Needs To Come Clean

04/18/2013 01:42 EDT | Updated 06/18/2013 05:12 EDT
B.C. NDP

The world of provincial politics has yet to fully adjust to the ever changing and ever fleeting high tech nation that we've become accustomed to.

Everyone knows that online conversations are fleeting. One person's views during, say, the dawn of the Iraq war, might be drastically different ten years, zero WoMDs and thousands of casualties later.

"A wise man changes his mind, a fool never will."
-Spanish Proverb.

People's views evolve as they have access to new information, gain new insight, are shamed into righteousness or "evolve", as Barack Obama put it when he swung his support behind gay marriage just a year ago.

The ex-NDP candidate Dayleen Van Ryswyk apologized for her comments on Wednesday, saying she's not racist.

Many politicians have come back from embarrassing situations, illegal activity, or adultery.

Former B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell plead no contest to a drunk driving charge in 2003. He was re-elected in 2005. Former B.C. Opposition Leader Gordon Wilson had an extramarital affair in 1993. In the 1996 provincial election, Wilson retained his seat.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Ontario Conservative Party Leader Tim Hudak and many others have made very public, very serious, and very damaging mistakes. There is a method to salvation, and it starts with admitting wrongdoing (even in a well-meaning situation), acknowledging the effect of this wrongdoing, attempting to rectify emanated misconceptions and vowing not to repeat the unfortunate mishap.

There is no reason Dayleen Van Ryswyk can't redeem herself, if she plays her cards right.

It is not uncommon for a perfectly well-meaning person to blow off some steam online. And sometimes, spewing inexact information to support one's frustration can occur on the internet. In fact, there is general misunderstanding on the plight of Aboriginals and the "other" official language of Canada. For whatever reason, misconceptions fester with the goading of inadequate school curricula and general lack of knowledge. Like a cancer, these tall tales spread until they are addressed head on.

It is high time the medicine meets the menace.

Van Ryswyk told Global Okanagan in an interview: "They left out the parts where I said that I wanted all people to be one person, to live together, to work together, to be treated fairly with respect and with dignity."

While this confession is a step in the right direction, Van Ryswyk's pseudo-apology does not refute the untruths the candidate wrote out of frustration. Tiptoeing around the perversion of facts won't emancipate her from the shackles of bigotry. Until Van Ryswyk can specify in detail which portions of her diatribe were grossly inaccurate and how she has evolved in her views, it will be difficult for members of the educated public to forgive her digressions. It also denies the general public an opportunity for edification and enlightenment on the untold history of the Pacific Province -- a province founded by a bilingual Black man, with Fort Victoria built by Aboriginals, and a proud history of pluralism and collaboration between French-Canadians, British-immigrants, escaped American slaves, and, the labour of Asian immigrants. It's no wonder the moniker "beautiful" is etched on license plates of British Columbia. It doesn't just refer to the landscape, it refers to the diversity of its inhabitants.

As British-Colombians have been shown to be forgiving in the past, there is no reason the trend cannot continue. Ethnic communities, aboriginal groups and civil citizens can lend a helping hand in Dayleen's journey to redemption. But first, Dayleen needs to come clean.