Dear Barbara: about your report…

May 21, 2008

Dear Ms. Hall:

Had it shown a bit of intellectual honesty, this could have been an admirable report; however, the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s willful blindness to overwhelming evidence that some Asian fishermen were fishing illegally undercuts any value that the report can have, save as a political document aimed at corralling the ethnic vote in Toronto.

An example of this dishonesty has to do with the list of commitments from the Ministry of Natural Resources: would it not seem worthy of note by any fair-minded reporter that the Ministry for the first time has published its fishing regulations in Chinese? But your commission chose to ignore this significant change in Ministry policy, regardless of its obvious value, apparently because it undercut the overall pitch.

In Westport the problem of massive poaching activity in fish sanctuaries and a private trout pond, while reported to the Commission in many forms, seemed beneath notice. Further, your listing of Westport as a community which “has made no commitments” by implication brands it as too stubborn to get with the program. This is pretty unfair, I think.

Did you only consider evidence and arguments which supported a foregone conclusion?

I have marked many essays and reports over my thirty-two years as a teacher. This one would get an early return to the author for a rewrite in which the body of information gets balanced treatment, even if it weakens the impact of the argument.

Anything else would be dishonest, and likely to be dismissed as a poor show, not worthy of a pass. Ninety percent of the paper is very good, and I agree with its argument — apart from the glaring problem of poaching — but ninety percent isn’t good enough when you are planking a boat.

Rod Croskery, M.Ed.
Retired Head of English,
Carleton Place High School

Westport Review-Mirror weekly columnist

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