April 5, 2020
With great disbelief and regret, i read the letter submitted by Natalia Busch and published in this periodical. I have also heard her comments on local media, characterizing the name change issue as a ‘smear’ campaign, against her and her beloved street name by others. How selfish and obtuse can one be? This is not about her at all. This is about the name of a street that, despite all historical wishes and references stands for at least 2 things, one is the iconic origin of the symbol that she and others who support her point of view like to focus on, dismissing or diminishing the other thing it stands for, horrendous evil, hatred and mass murder. If you doubt this definition, look up Swastika in Merriam Webster.
That said, her views can be dismissed as wishful thinking and a simple impression of how she might like the world to be as opposed to how it is, and she alone is a single voice and entitled, one supposes, to her views as long as they are not advocating hatred. She assures us that this is not the case. The irony that she is forced to answer this question at all seems lost on her and her fellow advocates, but i digress.
The real offenders here are the members of Puslinch council who abdicated all responsibility for doing the right thing ostensibly by deferring to the democratic vote of those on the street itself. Apparently, a stunning 25-20 vote represents a plurality such that council can or will do nothing about it. What about others in the Township? Do we not have a voice in the matter?
However, the more salient issue is the reliance on this vote alone as determinative. The fact is, the Nazi party was elected too, does that legitimize its behaviour? Of course not. Council’s analysis was flawed. In Canada, this is not an issue about who wins a vote, it is about a balancing of interests. In this case the interests of those who wish to keep the name against those who wish it changed and the rationale and consequence of each prevailing in the matter. The burden of the result must be borne by one side or the other and so which is it?
Here we have a thinly washed argument about the name being given in happy times and representing happy things as the answer to a counter that – whatever its origins, the name now represents and is currently associated with all the evil that we understand it to be. So councillors, the issue you should have tackled is whether it is a bigger burden for the name defenders to get comfortable with a new name perhaps with a plaque to pay homage to the former name or for the name changers (and the rest of us in Puslinch who are shocked and embarrassed by this) to live with a street name that is both an historical and contemporary symbol of evil and hatred for which Canadian soldiers died in opposition.
Seems to me the answer is clear, but it seems my hometown of Puslinch, apparently it is not. It seems all but the water is cloudy.
After reading this article, I’m appalled at your council’s vote. In a time when hate and divisiveness is rearing its ugly head, the community could have shown empathy and compassion at changing this notorious name. However, it appears that you did not. I can only hope that this story receives enough notoriety that the community will be shamed into doing the right thing.
Good luck with your poor decision and apathetic council members.