More interaction needed

Ladysmith Letter to the Editor

Editor:

 

I was looking forward to some genuine democratic consultation with Council and fellow citizens at the Town Hall meeting last week. We expected our hardworking councillors to weigh in with their diverse opinions and expertise on various agenda items, but their primary role was to stack chairs and serve coffee.  We also expected to bring forward our own items for discussion, but the process for raising issues was so baffling that no one managed to do so.

 

Instead, we entered the Aggie Hall to be handed a ‘clicker’, stickers and some coloured paper and then we got a three hour illustrated lecture from the mayor.

Some discussion was allowed, and occasionally we were invited to ‘vote’ with our clickers, but only after we had been primed on how to respond. For example, a picture of a cat with a bird in its mouth was shown just ahead of a vote on whether cats should be licensed.

 

We could choose between dumping sewage in the harbour or ‘expanding and updating’ our current facilities, but we couldn’t say yes to upgrading, but no to a costly and unnecessary expansion. We could vote for or against an RV park at Transfer Beach, but a more eco-friendly and budget-friendly option like a tent site was not offered. And so it went, issue after issue.

 

This is politics Facebook-style, where participation is channelled into yes/no responses to narrowly framed questions, public input is tightly controlled and the spin and framing attached to the issues pretty much guarantees the outcome.

 

And every time we fell into the seductive trap of clicking our clicker, we provided the Town with a ‘mandate.’

 

No doubt these shambolic voting figures will be translated into impressive looking percentages that will disguise the fact that a roomful of hot, tired people were briefly persuaded that cats pose a grave threat to Ladysmith or that chickens need to be licensed.

 

Engaged citizens and councillors that give up a summer evening to discuss what matters to them and their community deserve to be heard, not subjected to manipulation and a barrage of propaganda.

 

Ann Rogers

Ladysmith

Just Posted

Lavigne possesses crooner qualities, to be Frank

Island tour starts this week and concludes in Chemainus with two shows May 11

Art studio takes over former St. Joseph’s School space in Chemainus

Public invited to a grand opening on May 1 to see what’s transpired

First Nanaimo-Ladysmith all-candidates’ meeting is tomorrow

Six candidates expected to debate issues Thursday, April 25, at the Beban Park social centre

Ladysmith author explores community as The Moon Watched It All

Shelley A. Leedahl releasing her latest work, an illustrated tale for all ages

What do you want to see done with Ladysmith’s old train station?

Island Corridor Foundation meets with community to discuss the future of the Railway Station

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Woman who was chased and tackled after break-in sentenced on Vancouver Island

Natasha Geraldine Harris, 28, was sentenced to time served and will be released from jail

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Can you put your phone down for Mother’s Day?

#DiningMode campaign encourages people to leave the phone alone while eating

Most Read