(Pixabay.com)

EDITORIAL: When confrontation replaces dialogue

A number of recent comments making news headlines in Canada have shown a confrontational approach which has, until recently, been absent from Canadian behaviour.

One of these comments came from sports commentator Don Cherry, just before Remembrance Day, when he spoke about the importance of wearing the poppy.

His comments were seen as anti-immigrant speaking of those who have come to Canada and enjoy what he described as “our way of life.”

“You people … you love our way of life, you love our milk and honey, at least you can pay a couple bucks for a poppy or something like that,” Cherry said. “These guys paid for your way of life that you enjoy in Canada, these guys paid the biggest price.”

READ ALSO: Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Don Cherry says he was fired, not sorry for ‘Coach’s Corner’ poppy rant

The tone is in keeping with Cherry’s earlier bombastic and confrontational style — a style that has generated plenty of attention for Cherry over the years.

Around the same time, motorists in some Victoria, B.C. neighbourhoods received notes on their windshields, criticizing their choice of vehicles.

“You are the PROBLEM,” the notes read.

“While thousands of us are on board, walking or riding bikes to work every day in an effort to minimize our carbon footprint, you have clearly missed the memo or don’t care. When you see your kids, nieces, nephews grandchildren; the people to who you are passing the world onto. I suggest you tell them to their face that you hate them. After all, you are helping to deprive them of food security and biodiversity, among other critical things.”

READ ALSO: ‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

While Cherry’s comments and the notes on windshields have resulted in plenty of attention, they both suffer from the same flaw. They generate more heat than light.

The accusatory tone in both messages is unlikely to accomplish anything other than a short-lived outcry.

While people are able to change their opinions and change their behaviour, such changes seldom if ever come because of derogatory comments.

Instead while the accusatory tone may appeal to supporters of the message, those targeted in the messages are far more likely to double down in their behaviour.

And while people have spoken out about both issues, much of the outcry has been an exchange of slogans rather than dialogue about issues.

Patriotism, caring for the environment and many other issues deserve to be addressed and discussed.

But the discussions will not happen until the tone moves away from accusatory strikes.

— Black Press

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