Commentary by Linda Saxon RE Amherstburg Councillor Simone’s Notice of Motion To Redefine Town Name.
As published in the River Town Times:
The proposal is problematic for a couple of reasons.
Councillor Simone references, without citation, the etymological root of Amherst is “a place amongst the woods.”
Simone states the namesake’s ‘controversial nature’ and ‘Amherst’s legacy is controversial.’ Translated from Latin, controversy means disputed which downplays Amherst’s correspondence indicating a genocidal intent.
Does council favour actions that require very little effort and no cost but create the illusion of an ‘inclusive community?’ Two recent examples of wishes granted with little, or no cost come to mind.
One day after a resident tweeted in favour of extending the River Lights, and offered financial aid, Mayor Aldo DiCarlo made the lone decision to extend the lights display.
Nine months after the proposal for a rainbow crosswalk, with financial support, Councillor Donald McArthur said he was sorry it took so long.
If the town creates barriers to persons with disabilities, excludes persons with disabilities from decision-making processes, and delays compliance, can it claim that “Amherstburg is an inclusive community that recognizes the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all persons to live in a climate of understanding and mutual respect for the worth of each person, allowing them to contribute fully to the development and well-being of the community?”
Likewise, and paradoxically, the town reads a land acknowledgement at every meeting, which cost nothing, but if it creates an appearance of inclusivity is that as far as it will act? Substituting a new definition is no different than the town of Russell replacing the namesake with a new “Russell.”
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called upon municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation.
Council should do its homework before it decides. I refer to Article 19: States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.