Letter: Candidate Van Ryswyk explains her online remarks

"I have always championed for equality and fairness for all people:" Dayleen Van Ryswyk, independent candidate for Kelowna-Mission.

To the editor:

I would like to express my deepest apologies to the people I have hurt and offended with my comments related to posts I made online four years ago. The comments I made were done so in part, due to a frustration I felt about First Nations land claims. Unfortunately, my comments were not quoted in their entirety and have been misconstrued.

I have always championed for equality and fairness for all people, not just those in Canada. I strongly believe that land claims issues and First Nations have not been treated fairly or with respect and my complete comments reflect that. Unfortunately, I wasn’t very eloquent in getting that point across and could have been more sensitive in my remarks.

The point I was attempting to make in my online posts were that we are all Canadians, we are one, we are here together and we should all be treated the same, with respect and dignity regardless of your race, creed or colour. I feel that the government not dealing with the land claims issues in a timely manner has created a deep divide within all our Canadian people. I strongly believe the First Nations people have been waiting far too long to have their claims fully addressed and that was the frustration I was trying to relay.

In the four years since making those comments I have been educating myself about First Nations issues and have taken part in many rallies and petitions in support of their claims. I will continue to educate myself on inequality in Canada and around the world because equality is important to me.

As for the comments pertaining to the French language and French Canadians I made on the same forum. I would again like to offer my deepest apologies to all I have offended. The comments were made in part, as a comparison to the differences between eastern and western views on language. It was not to disparage the French language or people. Comments had been made about English signs being illegal in Quebec, though this is a bilingual country. Even the new leader of the Federal Liberal party, Justin Trudeau, has made comment that Quebec is Canada and doesn’t include the rest of the country. Other posters on the message board made comment about the Olympics held in Vancouver and how they felt all of B.C. wasn’t well represented. My comments pertained to that and went on to include how people in other parts of the world already think all Canadians live in igloos and have dog sleds. I felt the opening ceremonies were lovely but perpetuated that impression and didn’t show our diversity.

For the record, I was born in the Yukon and have been brought up in the native culture. My adopted brother is part native (we were both adopted) and our adopted family is French Canadian. I have a deep respect for both cultures and never intended for my comments to be interpreted the way they were. The fact that they were made four years ago, long before I had ever intended on a public life, is irrelevant. I should have been more sensitive and better expressed what I was trying to say. I take full accountability for my words and how they have hurt people. I only hope that those hurt, can forgive me and that my future actions will speak louder on these issues.

Though I have stepped down as the candidate for the B.C. NDP, I have had overwhelming support to run as an independent candidate and have decided to take that option. My nomination papers have been filed and accepted by Elections BC.

It should be noted that the way this was released to the press by the Liberals further shows the lengths they will go when they feel threatened. I held them accountable publicly for their actions and breach of two contracts pertaining to my business access. The fact that the Ministry of Transportation are at the root of these breached contracts and the Minister of Transportation herself, Mary Polack is the person who brought this story forward, shows this was a personal attack on me from the Ministry. It’s my opinion that this was an attempt to further teach me a lesson to not stand up against them. I’m told the Liberals have been sitting on this information for weeks but didn’t find it so offensive to release it right away. Instead they left it for the writ drop when it would cause more harm and embarrassment to me and the B.C. NDP.

It is this arrogance and level of corruption that made me come forward in the first place. There is a strong need for change in this province and the people have had enough of our government being run by big business and special interest groups. My comments that have been brought forward are issues that resonate with a good many of my constituents. As an independent, I’m free to speak to the issues rather than focus on party policy. I am a decent and honest person who has made a mistake and endeavour to have what I say, come out in a more respectful way in the future.

I would also like to apologize to Adrian Dix and the other candidates and volunteers who may have been harmed by these recent events. For that, I am deeply sorry!

Dayleen Van Ryswyk,

independent candidate for

Kelowna-Mission