Saturday, 16 May 2009

CBC Tars and Feathers Loyalists

A few minutes ago, Brent Bambury, host of CBC Radio's Go, made the dumbest statement I've heard in a long time. In a dubious attempt at humour, he smeared the United Empire Loyalists by claiming they arrived in Canada with all their goods and slaves in tow. Has he never heard of Black Loyalists?

Does he realize that most United Empire Loyalists were actually tradesmen and farmers, many of whom lost everything they owned? Does he realise Loyalists were branded as traitors, tarred and feathered, jailed, and hounded before they fled? Some never escaped the hangman.

Very few Loyalists were wealthy. And in 1793, Lord Simcoe, Governor of Upper Canada passed the Act Against Slavery,, making the colony the first place in the British Empire to pass legislation designed to end slavery. The act has been critiqued as too timid, but in 1793, Simcoe's measure was an heroic attempt at social reform that went against the advice of wealthy business types.

If Mr. Bambury was an American radio shock jock or pseudo-news comedy host, I'd wouldn't be surprised by his error. But I expect much much more from my taxpayer funded Public Broadcaster. Agree? Disagree?

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