[JPL] Oscar Peterson leaving Canada?
drjazz at drjazz.com
Tue Aug 1 10:02:52 EDT 2006
THE MISSISSAUGA NEWS
Abuse stings Mississauga jazz star
Aug 1, 2006
Jazz legend Oscar Peterson, 80, says his time in Canada might be up.
Peterson said he is thinking of moving to the West Indies with his family
after a group recently bombarded him and his family with obscenities as he
stood on the driveway and his wife and daughter were entering their
Mississauga residence. Police were called to the home last Saturday night.
"They tarnished any of the honours I have received in this country," he
said. "It really hurt me to the quick.
"I have always revered this country and tried to make it better known in
the world but I think I have outgrown my appreciation here so I think I
will just leave," he said. "Let them have the city if they want."
Peterson said the group members, who were in a blue vehicle, were yelling
"ugly" slurs at him but said they were not racial.
"I didn't hear anything racial, to be honest," he said. Similar incidents,
he said, have been taking place over the last couple of months.
Peterson said the comments reminded him of the kind he heard in the South
as a young touring pianist.
"For years, I have travelled throughout the United States and when we
played some of the southern cities, I saw this kind of sickness at its worst."
It was there, he said, he "saw racism at its worst," complete with cross
burnings and the Klu Klux Klan.
"I always prided myself - thank God I live in Canada.
"I always had great faith in this country, I have always looked to Canada
as being the example of what a country should be - it was a euphoric
outlook. This is a great disappointment to me."
Montreal-born Peterson is one of the world's most celebrated jazz
musicians, a Companion to the Order of Canada, and a Grammy winner for
lifetime achievement. Peterson said he felt uncomfortable leaving his
family in an environment "with the kind of idiots we have running around."
Peterson said the incident left his wife and daughter nervous and shaken.
He called the drive-by obscenity culprits "pure imbeciles" with "too much
time on their hands and not a high IQ.
"It's an insult for me to come to a place I call home and to be coming home
with my family and to be insulted like that on the street I live on."
Peel Region Constable Jennifer Bryer said the family had not reported the
incident as racial in nature. She said this could be a case of slander,
mischief, or criminal harassment.
Police say the blue vehicle was possibly a four-door Toyota.
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Oak Park, MI 48237
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