Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Pants on Fire - The Campaign Must Have Started!

           September 29, 2014 saw the Deep Cove Community Council Meeting held in St. John's Church.  It was generally quiet, many of the contentious bylaws having been already pushed through by the Council majority.

           A resident commented that all residents should feel welcome and safe at the community meetings so that they could freely state their thoughts without fear of intimidation.  Often at public meetings, supporters of the Council majority, are quite vocal in their support and quick to disparage speakers who don't conform to their viewpoint.  Those residents not endowed with a very thick hide, feel this chilling animosity and often remain seated rather than offer their point of view.

           To this, Councillor Browne, beaming in a most grandfatherly way, responded that all speakers would be warmly welcomed and that, "no one will jump on your head."  Unfortunately, this is not the experience remembered by some.  In fact the commenting resident's husband, at a summer meeting in the very same hall, was shouted at by Councillor Mearns and told to, "Get lost!"  So much for warm and fuzzy.  Councillor Browne has, at times, been quite strident in discouraging residents from addressing Council.

           And of course, the Council meeting webcasts are full of nasty incidents perpetrated by the Council majority against the Mayor other Councillors and citizens.  The low point in this incivility was probably reached in February of 2014 when Councillor Daly and his associates summarily threw a duly registered resident off the agenda.  This shocking trampling of freedom of speech is one of the sad legacies that will accompany Councillor Daly into his retirement.

           After Councillor Browne assured everyone of a warm welcome when addressing Council, Councillor McBride gave us every reassurance that e-mails from residents would be welcomed and returned.  This is not the experience of many residents who have yet to hear from Councillor McBride after making inquiries.  Those receiving the silent treatment are not numbered among her supporters. 

           Her most noteworthy non-response would be to the request for an apology for the persistent promulgation of a very unkind and hurtful lie about one of our District's most honorable citizens.  This incident was brought before Council recently where several of the Council majority refused to deal with it, to Councillor McBride's eternal shame.

           Also Councillor Mearns treated the audience to the tired old cliché that more houses equals low taxes (“broaden the tax base”).  Solid evidence plus a look at neighbouring municipalities shows that higher densities inevitably lead to higher municipal debt and taxes.  Rural municipalities enjoy low taxes.

           So, if a sudden plunge in the "Open & Transparent" index is any indication, it would seem that municipal election campaigning is underway!

           This little episode should serve as a critical warning to all residents - check statements from politicians with great care, especially during campaign season!  Critical thinking is the most important attribute that you can bring to your part of the election process.

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