Woke playwright tells white people not to review her play
Playwright Yolanda Bonnell is a two-spirit, Ojibwe/South Asian performer who has written a new play entitled Bug, which is now playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto. The aim of her play is to take a stand against colonialism. Bonnell has requested that the media only allow Indigenous, black or other people of colour to review her play.
“I do a lot of work in terms of decolonizing theatre… and for me this was one of those steps — taking away the colonial lens,” said Bonnell in an interview with Tom Power for CBC’s Q radio.
“There is an aspect to cultural work—or in our case, artistic ceremony— which does not align with current colonial reviewing practices,” Bonnell said in her official statement. “In order to encourage a deeper discussion of the work, we are inviting critiques or thoughts from IBPOC folks only. There is a specific lens that white settlers view cultural work through and at this time, we’re just not interested in bolstering that view, but rather the thoughts and views of fellow marginalized voices, and in particular Indigenous women.”
“You could hear perhaps a white critic, more likely someone on the internet, but a white critic say something like, ‘You know, I may be white but I don’t see things through that lens, what would you say?’” the CBC host asked Bonnell during the interview.
Bonnell laughed at the question and responded, “You can’t help but see things through that lens. We all have lenses that we see the world through and it directly correlates to our life experience. Unless you’re an Indigenous woman you don’t know what it’s like to be an Indigenous woman. Unless your a two-spirit individual or a trans, or non-binary you don’t know what that experience is like. So if somebody is writing a story about that, the lens that you’re viewing it through, its directly going to affect how you view that story, or how you write about it. There are going to be aspects that you don’t understand.”
However, Bonnell doesn’t feel the same is true from the other way around.
“We, as people of colour, understand whiteness to its core because we’ve grown up with it, especially people who’ve grown up here in Canada. My friend, a wonderful Indigenous playwright from the west coast Kim Senklip Harvey says she has her ‘ Ph.D. in whiteness’ and I feel very much similar.”
Bonnell’s play Bug will be performed at the Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto from now through Feb. 22.
CBC Kids News has published an article in favour of Canadian teens embarking on a hunger strike. The hunger strike was scheduled to start on Sunday; its purpose is to protest the now-cancelled Teck mine project in Alberta. The article details famous, historical hunger strikers, their achievements, and what happens to the body when it is denied food.
The fact that CBC decided to cover a hunger strike involving the participation of children is irresponsible to say the least. That this was promoted on their children’s news platform makes it even worse. Teens are already at higher risk than adults for eating disorders, which are typically about a person wanting to take control over their bodies when they feel they have no control over anything else. This hunger strike is in service to something teens absolutely have no control over, energy policy.
It’s absolutely unconscionable to advocate for children to starve themselves to get the government to change its energy policy. And it is absurd to expect the government to change its energy agenda based on this kind of advocacy. The teens are basically taking themselves hostage, holding their breath until they get their way.
Twitter users were quick to point out how irresponsible and dangerous this article is.
It’s been a few years now that people are so freaked out by climate change that they’re willing to sacrifice their children. But while pundits and armchair climate activists may advocate for the Greta Thunbergs of the world to give up their futures in service to environmental activism, parents are not so sure.
In fact, the article on CBC Kids News had to be amended to account for a parent’s concern. One of the students who intends to participate in the hunger strike was noted to have the support of his mom. However, after the article was published, his mother wrote to say that “she is extremely worried about her son going on a hunger strike and, ‘even more disappointed that young adults feel they need to engage in self harm to be heard by the media and government on this issue.’”
She’s right to be concerned. As a matter of fact, all Canadian parents should be concerned. CBC has crossed a line by promoting unhealthy behaviour directly to young people. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Rita George, a Wet’suwet’en hereditary subchief has decided to come forward to voice her opinion about the anti-pipeline protestors who are not affiliated with the Wet’suwet’en First Nation. George is both a band member and part of the hereditary system. She also previously helped translate a major Supreme Court decision that gave greater control to Indigenous communities over their land.
“I want the world to know what’s been happening to us. We are being bullied, it’s so shameful, so hurtful. We are being humiliated.” said George.
George was only a young woman when she was selected by her community for a Wet’suwet’en leadership role. A role that George says she knew she would be fulfilling for the rest of her life.
George was initially very apprehensive about speaking out against what is happening in her community. She didn’t want to cause any further pain surrounding this issue however she said she feels it is also important that the truth be told.
“I want the world to know why I am stepping forward as a matriarch,” spoke George at the Pleasant Valley Cafe in Houston, B.C. “The world thinks the matriarchs are behind all the protests going on and that’s not true. None of the matriarchs were contacted.”
“There is no love, there is no respect. That’s not the way of our ancestors,” Ms. George said, saying she is speaking on behalf of the matriarchs and elders of her community. “If I keep quiet, if I don’t come forward to address our point of view, it will look like we are supporters. We are not.”
George expressed having great difficulty speaking out against some of her own and the unaffiliated anti-pipeline protestors who have turned her community into a battleground over issues of climate change policy. She said even the elders are afraid to voice their concerns.
Ms. George said the current influx of outside protesters who are pushing their own agenda via her community has muddled the exchange of opinions within the Wet’suwet’en community. Instead, George feels it would be much more appropriate if the Wet’suwet’en community had time and the privacy to discuss this important issue.
“It hurts me to see them [pipeline opponents] wearing regalia in the snow and mud and marching in the cities. That’s not right. That’s affecting all of us. Our ancestors would say they are dirtying the names and the regalia.”
CBC has filed a claim with the Department of Industry to trademark the word “Oh” and “Radio-Canada Oh-dio” with the department’s intellectual property office.
Conservative Party leadership candidate Erin O’Toole recently called for the privatization of the publicly funded TV service.
CBC’s potential new “Oh” marketing campaign is reminiscent of the network’s earlier attempts to boost sales with previous trademarks such as“Fall for CBC” in 2014, “Canada’s Own” in 2011, and “Trusted, Connected, Canadian” in 2001.
In 2013 the public broadcaster sued a Montréal cable station for $50,000 over the trademark “Ici” (“here”) which they used for their French-language service according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Our public broadcaster is stuck in the past,” said O’Toole in a campaign video on February 14. “An O’Toole government will modernize and reform the CBC,” said O’Toole. “We will end funding for CBC digital and we will cut the CBC English TV budget by fifty percent. Our plan will phase out TV advertising with a goal to fully privatize CBC English TV by the end of our first mandate.”
The CBC receives $1.2 billion grant per year from the government, however, their English-language television ad revenues fell 37 percent last year.
O’Toole said he would keep CBC French-language services and the Crown broadcaster’s national radio network as it is.
In 2017 a Conservative bill to privatize the CBC as an entire corporation was brought forth but was defeated.
Former Conservative MP Brad Trost was a sponsor of the bill, “The Mulroney administration philosophically should have done it, just as the previous Harper administration philosophically should have been prepared to privatize the CBC,” said Trost, in an interview at the time. “Someone needed to take the first steps to get things going.”
“The late former finance minister Jim Flaherty actually broached this subject a few times in the past,” said Trost. “He spoke to me about how it was one of his wishes to privatize the CBC. Jim and I discussed it.”
Bill C-308 An Act To Provide For The Incorporation Of The CBC would have reorganized the network under the Canada Business Corporations Act with plans to have a final sale within the following three years. The bill was shot down in the Commons by a vote of 260 to 6.
Prime Minister Trudeau will hold a meeting with all the Canadian premiers in order to update what the federal government’s plan is to deal with the anti-pipeline protestors various blockades. Across the nation, railroads have been unusable for over the past two weeks.
Via Rail and CN Rail have now been shut down for 15 consecutive days, resulting in both companies being forced to lay off more than 1,000 total employees according to Global News.
“Today the prime minister will again engage with premiers in a call with the Council of the Federation. We’re working hard to reach a peaceful and lasting resolution.” said Cameron Ahmad, director of communications for the Prime Minister’s Office.“From Day 1 the prime minister and ministers have been directly engaging with provincial governments to resolve this complex situation,”
Protestors behind the blockades claim they are acting in solidarity with some of the hereditary chiefs of B.C.’s Wet’suwet’en First Nation who are opposed to the Coastal GasLink natural gas line project. This claim remains despite the fact that the majority of Wet’suwet’en people voted to approve the project.
The five hereditary chiefs who oppose the project are a minority of the 13 total hereditary chiefs of the community who do support the project. Members of the Mohawk community in Tyendinaga and Kahnawake said they are protesting in solidarity with those five Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who stand against the Coastal GasLink project.
The elected band council for the Wet’suwet’en people also support the pipeline, as do 20 other First Nations that are along the proposed route.
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is confident that this new meeting will bring a resolution to this ongoing dispute.
“These are opportunities to come to a peaceful resolution,” Miller told reporters in Ottawa. “I think this will give us an increased opportunity to have those discussions so we can de-escalate.”
RCMP in B.C. offered to leave the area of the territory the Wet’suwet’en claim as their traditional lands despite having a court injunction to remove the protestors from the area.
Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said he feels the RCMP’s move will show some good faith, “the conditions have now been met” for a resolution. “I believe the time has come for the barricades to come down,” he said.