National Newsmaker: Courage came at the right time

The Canadian Press made the right call for its Newsmaker of the Year

When the Canadian Press named Gord Downie its newsmaker of the year for 2017, it did so with the support of what seemed like half the country, or maybe more.

Indeed with more than 11 million people watching the final concert as Downie and his bandmates in the Tragically Hip played their way into our collective memories in 2017, it’s hard to argue with the impact the man and his band made on our nation.

With a career built solidly in Canada, Downie and the Hip were something that was uniquely ours.

Aside from small pockets of popularity south of the border, Downie and the Hip pulled off a rare feat for a Canadian act, finding huge success and doing it in Canada, without the help of the mass music marketers in the good ol’ USA.

But it was in Downie’s final year that he went from popular artist to so much more, taking his fame and turning it into something positive, something that would make a difference.

Downie took the plight of First Nations struggles to the mainstream public over the last year of his life, pushing hard for people to think about something other than the Canada that we know and love.

Because for too many years in Canada our children were not taught about the real history of Canada’s Indigenous population, the people that were here for thousands of years before white settlers arrived.

Generations grew up being told that First Nations were lazy or drunks or people who used and abused the system.

But the real story was much more hard to fathom: That Canada attempted mass genocide on its First Peoples, taking their land, putting them on reserves, stealing kids and giving them over to the residential schools to be abused or killed.

That we all stood and celebrated Canada 150 this year was a terrible joke. This land has belonged to the people for much longer than the government of Canada has existed. And it still belongs to the people, to all of us.

If it took an artist on his death bed to show more people just how wrong Canada has been, then we salute Gord Downie posthumously. He had the courage to say what needs to be done.

He once wrote, Courage, it couldn’t come at a worse time. Well this courage came right when we needed it.

Here’s hoping his message was heard.

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.



kparnell@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Apples the star fruit of the Kelowna farmer’s market

The second annual Apple Festival was held this morning

UPDATED: Team Canada moves into gold finals at World Mixed Curling Championship

The curling championships are being held at the Kelowna Curling Club

Hiker injured on mountain near Peachland

A hiker was rescued this morning

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

Watch it again: Kelowna mayoral candidates square off

Missing the LIVE Kelowna mayoral debate watch now

B.C. passenger caught smoking weed in a car issued $230 fine

Saanich police did a field sobriety test on the driver and deemed it safe for him to drive

Payette invites critics to ‘come and spend a few days’ with her

Governor General Julie Payette made her first official to B.C. back in March

Letter: Get the facts on homeless in Kelowna

During the Journey Home process, all task force members agreed the strategy must be evidence based

More pot stores expected in B.C. in coming ‘weeks and months’: attorney general

Attorney General David Eby and Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth visited the new BC Cannabis Store in the province’s Interior

Letter: Get the facts on cannabis legalization for our kids

“Safe kids” are necessarily safe when pot is legalized

Letter: Climate change responses should matter the most in voter’s decision

In Kelowna, candidates answered a climate change question from the Capital News

Telus launches charitable foundation to help vulnerable youth

The Telus Friendly Future Foundation complements other social initiatives by the company, including Mobility for Good

Most Read