Painful Truth: Sun editor’s apology for op-ed rings hollow

Painful Truth: Sun editor’s apology for op-ed rings hollow

The xenophobic piece should never have run in a major newspaper

Last weekend, the Vancouver Sun and The Province briefly ran a shockingly racist op-ed by a Calgary college instructor.

Among other things, it told Canadians that a diverse or inclusive society was damaging to both social trust and to the economic performance of a nation. It suggested that ethnic ghettoization was natural and desirable. The whole thing was based on cherry-picked data to back up this thesis, including citing an anti-Muslim think tank that has pushed the racist “replacement theory.”

It ended by telling Canada that we must “say good-bye to diversity, tolerance, and inclusion.”

The piece was pulled from both papers’ websites, though not in time to keep it from hitting the Sun’s Saturday print edition, and editor in chief Harold Munro wrote an apology to readers.

Reporters and columnists at the Sun, Province, and other Postmedia papers expressed their shock and frustration that their work was sharing space with a column that they saw as denigrating to immigrants and visible minorities. Sun reporter Stephanie Ip wrote on Twitter about her parents’ struggle to bring their family to Canada in hopes of a better future, only to have her own paper print “a piece of hateful, harmful garbage.”

So after a revolt by reporters, scorn from many readers, and an admission of guilt, what will change at the Sun and Province?

Probably not much.

There’s been no word on any firings of the editor in charge of the op-ed page, who approved the piece. Nor any word of discipline, not even a stern talking-to.

The history of the media in Canada, and particularly in B.C., is not one of “diversity, tolerance, or inclusion.”

Consider that the Sun itself reported on the arrival of would-be Sikh immigrants on the Komagata Maru in 1914 with the headline “Hindu invaders now in the city harbour.”

Many papers – including the Advance, parent to the modern Advance Times – have published things that are less than admirable in the past. But the trend has continued into recent years at some outlets.

The late former Sun journalist and North Shore News columnist Doug Collins was ordered to pay damages for writing anti-Semitic columns in the 1990s. Another late Sun commentator, Mark Collacott, wrote darkly two years ago of Canada “replacing” its population, as though non-white citizens are somehow less Canadian than white ones.

A thread of racism and xenophobia runs through much commentary in British Columbia’s media. Postmedia’s own reporters have proved up to the task of publicly calling for their paper to do better, as have many readers.

Our papers have a responsibility to serve all our citizens, and that means rejecting xenophobia. It also means that the Sun – and perhaps all media – should do some soul searching about how anyone thought these views could be part of the mainstream discourse in B.C.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

While most drivers along the stretch of 200th Street near Nicomekl Elementary School in Langley City follow the posted speed limits, a significant number is ignoring the posted limits, data from speed reader boards shows. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Drivers in Langley City are most likely to ignore the speed limit near Nicomekl school

Data from speed reader boards shows speeding is worst on 200th Street between 50th and 53rd Avenues

Garth Dauncey is one of the volunteers working on renovations at a Langley City home for the AOK Extreme Home Repair project. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
AOK home repair could use funding support to aid Langley family

A GoFundMe is looking to raise up to $80,000

Seven-year-old Adam Dadson opened his own plant stand at 24th Ave and 268 Street in Aldergrove. (Val Dadson/Special to The Star)
Seven-year-old Aldergrove entrepreneur opens pop-up plant stand

Adam Dadson sold flowers last weekend to earn enough money to buy his mom a Mother’s Day gift

Calvin Singh, a 17-year-old Aldergrove Secondary student, earned the Jodi Steeves Kindness Scholarship. (Special to The Star)
Aldergrove teen earns Jodi Steeves Kindness Award and the $1,000 that goes with it

Calvin Singh won the scholarship for showing constant kindness and positivity

Langley’s Avery Heppell has been named to Volleyball Canada’s Women’s NextGen National Team. (TWU)
Langley’s Avery Heppell has been named to Volleyball Canada’s Women’s NextGen National Team

Trinity Western University player to attend 10-week training session

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

RCMP. (Black Press File)
Major Crimes called in after two bodies discovered on remote road near Penticton

A manhunt involving a police helicopter took place on May 10

Canada’s Janet Leung steals second base during playoff action at the Softball Americas Olympic Qualifier tournament in South Surrey on August 31, 2019. Leung and her teammates have not been back to Softball City since, as the 2020 and now ‘21 Canada Cup tournaments have been cancelled. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck photo)
Canada Cup softball event cancelled for second straight year

Travel, health concerns cited as reasons for cancellation of popular Lower Mainland event

Boats in the Fraser River launched from Barrowtown and Ft. Langley on May 12 to search for the missing fisherman. (Steve Simpson)
Boats search the Fraser River for missing Abbotsford fisherman

Anyone with ‘a boat, time, or a drone’ to help bring Damian Dutrisac home was asked to help

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver court on Tuesday, March 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Defence lawyers call foul as Crown counsel granted access to COVID-19 vaccines

Defence attorneys are pushing the province to extend inoculation access to workers in courtrooms across B.C.

A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. A number of schools in the Fraser Health region, including Woodward Hill, have reported cases of the B.1.7.7 COVID-19 variant first detected in the U.K. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Fraser Health still unsure if 333 cases of COVID among students, teachers were acquired in school

88 cases of 267 cases the health authority considers to be school-acquired lead to spread outside of school

The RCMP logo is seen outside Royal Canadian Mounted Police “E” Division Headquarters, in Surrey, B.C., on Friday April 13, 2018. Indigenous leaders are calling for an investigation into the conduct of Mounties on Vancouver Island after two police shootings of members of a small First Nations community in three months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Indigenous leaders call for clarity, investigation into RCMP after B.C. shooting

The RCMP declined to comment on the requests by Indigenous leaders

Most Read