Ben Buss in Chemainus during a mural tour in 2018. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Ben Buss in Chemainus during a mural tour in 2018. (File photo by Don Bodger)

Termination of town crier a misguided decision

Ben Buss a well-respected ambassador not only for Duncan, but the entire Cowichan Valley

The following is addressed to the City of Duncan Mayor and Councillors and furnished to the Courier for publication:

Bluntly, I am disgusted and shocked at council’s sad, sudden dismissal last week of our long-time, highly-respected Town Crier Ben Buss.

Please rethink – and at least get public input about – your seemingly misdirected decision.

Buss’ accolades and promotion of Duncan are worldwide as he is a highly-talented member of the World Town-Crier Association.

Councillors’ seemingly inane decision will doubtless give Duncan a global black eye in the press, plus on social media.

In fact, I read the alarming news online in an Aug. 4, 2021 Times Colonist letter from former Duncan councillor Sharon Jackson.

I later confirmed the news with a distraught Buss. He noted city council did not speak with him before his termination.

His colourful appearances touting not only Duncan but the whole Cowichan Valley, are far too numerous to list.

But more to the point, Buss’ great role as our town crier had nothing to do with Canada’s tragic residential schools and their impact on First Nations’ folks.

Perhaps some councillors believe Buss’ 1700-era British red coat and other parts of his brilliant, historically correct uniform – including a Metis sash – are enough connection to arrogant latter-day colonials who launched those evil schools in Ottawa a century later.

Absurd. Council appears to be 100 years out of date.

Furthermore, Buss had a great rapport with, and inspired, many First Nations’ people in Cowichan, across B.C., and during his former jobs before moving to The Warm Land.

These facts didn’t seem to be part of council’s seemingly autonomous decision to quietly sack our jovial, popular town crier with a terse letter and $50 in Downtown Duncan Dollars.

Low-class decisions such as this are indeed eroding our great city, and pulling us all back to darker times.

Hopefully voters remember council’s crass decision during next year’s municipal election.

Peter W. Rusland,

North Cowichan

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