Friday, April 13, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


I came to know Kevin Potvin during the 2005 Vancouver municipal election. He spoke boldly on political issues and he wasn't timid in sharing his political vision. Moreover, I found it refreshing that here was this really decent guy who has done lots of community service to make Vancouver a better place and hence I was happy to cast a vote for him.

In the past few days, Mr Potvin, has come under fire regarding a column he penned over the tragic and horrifying 9/11 attacks. In the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, as the events were unfolding before our eyes, as it was for Kevin, he shared his feelings.

Mr Potvin, as a journalist was obviously caught up in his emotions. As a story teller, he informed his readers exactly how he was feeling. He didn't shy away from those real innermost feelings which were rising to the forefront of his psyche. In fact, he titled the op/ed piece a Revolting Confession.

In times of tragedy, stress and trauma, often our emotions fail us. When we should be feeling a certain way, our feelings might play out opposite from what is generally acceptable norms. We do not always necessarily have control over these emotions and they can erupt in a manner which may make us feel shame, disgust, repulsion or remorse.

In the Potvin column, he alludes to this by stating he had a "revolting confession".

I think Kevin should be treated with compassion for opening himself up in such a personal way. Sharing his innermost feelings as they arose for him during the 9/11 tragedy, was probably very difficult and I suspect he knew that his shared feelings, might very well be reviled by the public. Perhaps, these feelings of Kevin's were a coping mechanism. Who knows. But at least Kevin was truthful about them. I'm certain he wasn't alone in his feelings either.

And oh how it has stirred debate. Kevin, is a Green party candidate in the upcoming federal election and people are clamouring for the Green leader, Elizabeth May, to remove him as a candidate. Mr Potvin is under tremendous attack and while I can understand that people are offended by the feelings of Mr Potvin, I would hope though that these people consider at least that Mr Potvin has the right to write about those feelings.

While I obviously had different feelings than Kevin Potvin regarding 9/11, I'm not about to add my name to the growing list of those who are aghast over his feelings.

Mr. Potvin to his credit has clarified for the public that he doesn't support those who have been alleged to have committed the heinous crimes of 9/11.

Mr. Potvin in a moment of great stress, released his feelings as they welled up and spilled over by writing about them. He has issued an apology and I personally don't believe we should be crucifying him, no matter how repulsed we are over his expression of feelings.

I will continue to support Kevin and if I lived in Van-Kingsway, I would not hesitate to cast my vote for him. He is a decent, hardworking family man who has contributed significantly to his neighborhood, the betterment of society and Vancouver. These are the character traits I look at when judging a person. I think Vancouver could do a lot better with many more Kevin Potvin's around and I sincerely hope citizens reflect on Kevin's strong, admirable traits when making their own judgments regarding his character.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 5:32 PM, Blogger solipsist said...

I could not agree more, but to say that I shared, and share Potvin's feelings on 911.

Hopefully, he will run as an Independent, as I do live in Van.-Kingsway, and the Green Party just blew off my vote, my wife's vote, and the votes of all those who I would have encouraged to vote for him.

At 8:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compassion? Are you serious??

That pathetic excuse for a human being should be shamed out of his town.

I doubt you'd extend this "compassion" if you had lost someone in the 9/11 attacks.

I must say your hypocrisy is not at all surprising as I am no longer shocked by anything that comes flying out of the mouths of liberals.
Disgusted in Seattle.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Disgusted in Seattle,

I think society lost as a consequence of 9-11. We witnessed how Humanity suffered another big blow. Many of us have compassion over the loss of life which occured as a result of 9-11. Many of us reached out and called our American family and friends to offer our assistance, empathy and concern. We did what we could, in our own individual way to express our heartfelt concern. And Mr Potvin did the same through his contoversial writing.

But I have to say this. I also have grave concern as Mr Potvin does, over people living in offensive third world like conditions. These conditions a direct result of bad government policies.

I despise that any child is sujected to so much hate that they start life out without the basic necessities needed for learning growth and survival.

So before you condemm us all, by misdirecting your blame. Perhaps, rather than blaming others you can start by playing blame where it belongs. Much of the world's unrest originates I hate to say but right in your own bavckyard.

I for one am tired of President Bush's administration. In fact, they are a disgrace and a stumbling block for the advancement of human rights, dignity and justice.

At 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daily, in the mainstream american media, we see gleeful admiration of the american warriors that are 'winning' a brutal war in a nation that the majority of american citizens do not feel an inckling of compassion for. That very well may not be true, however it is the deafening sound of silence, the lack of criticism, or out-an-out dissent over the trillions of dollars spent on the military industry, that has murdered annually many more people than in the WT Centres. What about the sheer amount of energy that is being wasted, not only developing such useless machinery, but the droughts, famine, and mass migration that is being caused in Africa because the wealthy nations are creating 60% of the pollution, while Aftrica creates 5%. The globe warms due to our nations policies that are being upheld by our citizenry.
Much of the anger that is coming out over this article is over language, of what language is acceptable within our public dialogue. Howver, do the words we choose not to say create much pain by the sheer contradictory nature of what the mainstream media concentrates on, Anna Nicole's death, Britney Spears hair problems, etc. Whe not a meaningful dialogue on the surreal, confusinig emotions that come forth on a day such as 9/11? Such dialogue necessarily would need to go further than a simple, black and white, good vs. evil, ignore and loathe anything that I don't agree with.
Naturally one does not condone violence of the 9/11 sort. However that is not the most absurd, pointless death propagated on the globe in the last few years. 9/11 has occupied too much of the media and public dialogue. Land of the free, you are not. At least to the many people that do not choose to be adverselly affected by policies made by a foreign nation, and supported by the 'righteous' citizenry of its borders. In the land of the free, anything and everything is possible, just don't point out the hypocrisy that upholds the 'four pllars' of a pseudo-democratic nation.

At 3:19 PM, Blogger Steve said...

Kevin Potvin gets my vote as Independent in any future election.

However, I want him to represent City Centre, Surrey, formerly Whalley, from which Surrey improves the gene pool of the Republic of East Vancouver!

At 10:56 PM, Blogger Patrick Ross said...

I wonder, then, how anyone is to construe this particular tidbit:

"Nor was I alone, I know for a fact, whenever I passed a TV or newspaper with a report on the ensuing US war to capture Osama bin Laden, and I secretly said to myself, "Go, Osama, Go!" I am happy he has eluded capture by the Americans. I am in love with those Afghans who, whenever asked, said, "He went that-a-way," and their fifty hands pointed in fifty different directions."

Not a bit of spin is necessary to determine Potvin's wishes: Osama bin Laden evading capture. To date, mr Potvin has recieved what is clearly his wish. However, there is a consequence that goes hand-in-hand with Potvin recieveiing his wish: that Bin Laden remains free to plan further terrorist attacks.

How one defends an individual who would want such things is beyond any rational individual.

What is most disturbing, however, is Potvin's previous description of himself as a "middle of the road" candidate -- a middle of the road candidate who celebrated 9/11. That just rolls off the tip of my tongue.

Potvin, given the opportunity would probably describe himself as "progressive" as well. Yet the Euston Manifesto would clearly reject anyone who would ignore or celebrate any horrific actions commited against a state, or government, of which one disapproves. 9/11 certainly qualifies as a horrific act.

To suggest otherwise is simply inhuman. Some would go further in describing it as sub-human, and I'm not certain if I disagree with them.

Frankly, the fact of the matter is this: Potvin's compassion for the victims of 9/11, and their families, should be matched. There is only one way to match this: no compassion for Kevin Potvin. Save your compassion for an actual victim -- or at least someone not victimized by his own ego.


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