ROTHENBURGER – The dangers of not being careful with what we say

Michael Wernick. (Image: Parliamentary TV)

CLERK OF THE PRIVY COUNCIL Michael Wernick said Thursday what everybody else has been thinking but hasn’t wanted to say.

“I’m worried that somebody is going to be shot in this country this year during the political campaign,” he said during testimony to the Commons justice committee.

He was supposed to be there to talk about the Wilson-Raybould affair but took the opportunity to express his deep concerns about what’s happening to Canada. For his effort, he’s been accused in the media of being partisan, but I say, thank you.

We all seem to be afraid of talking about the ultimate potential result of the verbal bullying that has become a part of life in this country, and others — that if we refuse to rediscover civility, leaders are going to be targeted by lone-wolf zealots who take loose talk as license to commit violence. They will see themselves as heroes.

A prime example lives south of our border. Many worry about the safety of Donald Trump but nobody says it for fear it will provide encouragement to the crazies who think they can solve everything with guns. But we need to acknowledge it.

We need to understand that using the wrong words, or using them poorly, can be as dangerous as using them in anger.


Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops, former school board chair, former editor of The Kamloops Daily News, and a current director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He was awarded the Jack Webster Foundation’s lifetime achievement award in 2011. His editorials are published Monday through Thursdays, and Saturdays on CFJC Today, CFJC Midday and CFJC Evening News. Contact him at

About Mel Rothenburger (7618 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on ROTHENBURGER – The dangers of not being careful with what we say

  1. Sean McGuinness // February 23, 2019 at 3:25 PM // Reply

    What Mr. Wernick said is pretty unusual coming from high ranking civil servant, even though there is much truth in it. Circumspection is important in positions sensitive to political bias.
    The bigger problem these days is that the media, thanks to the internet, has weaponized the “vomitorium” that always existed. We live by the sword and die by it.

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