Paramount to a healthy democracy is the ability to ask a question. And that ability is something we take for granted on a daily basis.
We’re not talking about questions like’ What’s for dinner?’ or ‘What are we going to do today?’
What we take for granted is our ability to question people and processes and what is being presented to us.
We can sit and watch a political speech and actively deconstruct what is being said, form our own opinion and, around election time, act on those opinions.
And hopefully we can ask all the right questions to make sure we are properly informed.
We take this for granted, especially since in some lands, people disappear for asking too many questions.
No one is comparing Ladysmith to Somolia, Iran or even Stephen Harper’s press gallery, but council’s decision to adopt a set of question period guidelines has raised the eyebrows of a few of the town’s most avid civil watchers.
The town states they are to create a more efficient meeting and lay down a set process for taking and answering questions.
No one, they say is being denied the right to ask questions as people can continue to needle council and staff outside the meeting forum, however those up in arms claim the new guidelines are restricting, uninviting and take public questions out of a public venue. And, one could argue further, limiting the number and types of questions asked after the meeting is bad for council as it infringes on their opportunity to inform a larger audience on their stance on issues.
But, like them or not, they are now a municipal matter. What will be interesting is to see how the guidelines are applied — under what circumstances and to who — in the coming weeks.
Our turn to ask one more question: What do you think?
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