Last week we brought you tale of Seattle resident and friend of the paper Brad Hole and his rather unenjoyable fishing trip to Chilliwack, Canada. Hole, as it turned out, was one of several American anglers who got their tires slashed while they were trying to hook some of the area's famous salmon.
Since then, the town of Chilliwack has been a fit, fending off accusations of anti-Americanism.
Now the city's tourism department is doing whatever it can to convince people that Canadians are every bit as amiable and nonconfrontational as you may have previously heard (hockey rioters notwithstanding).
|Brad Hole's tires got slashed while he was fishing in Chilliwack--as did as possibly 30 other cars'.|
"The first thing we'll be talking about is the reward," Brian Coombes, Tourism Chilliwack's executive director tells Seattle Weekly of the $1,000 reward being offered for information on the tire-slashers. "Then, we're really looking at the PR side, how we can reach out with an apology and an invite back. The bottom line is this isn't being taken lightly."
Coombes says that the RCMP says it received nine separate reports of tire slashings in the Chilliwack area over the last two weeks, and of those, eight were on cars with American plates. The actual number of incidents, however, is likely much higher.
A tire store owner in Chilliwack last week told Seattle Weekly that his shop had replaced tires on 30 vehicles--all of them American.
And since the tire slashings began, other anglers writing on fishing blogs have also reported having their cars keyed.
Regardless, Coombes says he's not convinced that anti-Americanism is to blame. "Word spreads and numbers start being thrown around," he says. "The fact is not all the incidents were on vehicles with American plates."
As for Brad Hole, he says apologies and invites back (both of which he's received) aren't really going to cut it. He'd just like to see the vandals arrested.
"For me, I just want to see the jokers caught," Hole says, noting also that he has already cancelled one trip back to Chilliwack. "It's unfortunate that it happened. The people in Chilliwack are really nice; it's too bad there are these bad apples. But I'm definitely cautious about going up there."
Hole also notes that one of the prominent jokes to come out of this whole episode involves a little Yankee retaliation.
"The joke going around is that Americans are going to start slashing Canadian tires at the Walmart in Bellingham."