What’s in a name?

The Glengarry News - - The Opinion Page - STEVEN WAR­BUR­TON

This fall, a work­ing com­mit­tee put to­gether by the United Coun­ties of SDG will ex­am­ine 99 dif­fer­ent for­est com­part­ments through­out the area. Their job will be to iden­tify ar­eas that are ripe for recre­ational op­por­tu­ni­ties and to pro­vide those sites with names.

It’s a bril­liant idea. When you give some­thing a name, you give it power. You make it mem­o­rable. If that wasn’t the case, “the ball park” would have just as much magic as “Yan­kee Sta­dium.”

I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing the names the com­mit­tee comes up with. Also, if I may, I’d like to make a sug­ges­tion for one of those names. Bock For­est. Yes, I be­lieve one of the forests should be named for Glen Sand­field res­i­dent – and for­mer

Glen­garry News re­porter – Pete Bock. I say this be­cause Mr. Bock has al­ways been pas­sion­ate about pro­tect­ing and ex­pand­ing for­est cov­er­age in East­ern On­tario. He’s made a num­ber of pre­sen­ta­tions to both tiers of mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil. In­deed, in my 14-plus years of work­ing at this news­pa­per, I have not seen a more ar­dent woodland de­fender than Pete Bock.

I know Pete a lit­tle (ob­vi­ously) and I know that he may be slightly em­bar­rassed that I men­tion his name here. That’s be­cause he’s al­ways been a mod­est guy. But as Solomon said: “Let some­one else praise you, and not your ow n mouth” and that is what I am do­ing here. Mr. Bock’s name should be im­mor­tal­ized on one of our forests. All that needs to be done now is to make it of­fi­cial.

For the books

The SD&G County Li­brary is also look­ing for in­put from the pub­lic – it wants to up­date its mis­sion state­ment.

It even has a sur­vey up on sur­vey­mon­key.com, where li­brary users can eval­u­ate six dif­fer­ent state­ments. They range from short and terse (“Con­nect. Cre­ate. Ex­plore.”) to ver­bose (“To pro­vide a wel­com­ing, sup­port­ive and in­spir­ing en­vi­ron­ment, where ev­ery­one can ex­plore, learn and cre­ate.”) They all have their strengths, but to my mind, I think the best mis­sion state­ment for any li­brary is: “We will lend you books.” In any case, vot­ing ends of Sept. 5 (you can also vote at any branch) and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see what the pub­lic de­cides.

PC on steroids

Ear­lier this month, the Ele­men­tary Teach­ers Fed­er­a­tion of On­tario passed a res­o­lu­tion that urges school boards to strip the name of John A Mac­don­ald from the prov­ince’s schools. The line of think­ing is that Mr. Mac­don­ald played a piv­otal role in the dis­place­ment of First Na­tions peo­ple. Be­cause of this, he does not de­serve the hon­our of hav­ing an ed­i­fice named in his mem­ory.

On­tario’s Premier Kath­leen Wynne dis­agrees with the res­o­lu­tion and John Baird, who used to be Canada’s For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter, called it “po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness on steroids.” John A. Mac­don­ald wasn’t a saint but he did play a piv­otal role in the de­vel­op­ment of Canada. He’s our first ever prime min­is­ter, for cry­ing out loud, and he was in­stru­men­tal in build­ing our rail­road. Yes, he had his bad points, but who doesn’t? Heck, even the saints, for whom plenty of Catholic schools are named, had their bad days too.

Get a load of this sex­ist hog­wash: “Woman was merely man's help­mate, a func­tion which per­tains to her alone. She is not the im­age of God but as far as man is con­cerned, he is by him­self the im­age of God.” St. Au­gus­tine said that. Dozens of schools across Canada are named for him but teach­ers’ unions aren’t likely to clam­our for that prac­tice to end. I dunno, but that seems in­con­sis­tent to me. Doesn’t it kind of send the mes­sage that racism is bad but sex­ism is good? Let’s just hope all of this can get ad­dressed be­fore our ten­dol­lar bill re­quires a makeover too.

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