More interaction needed

Ladysmith Letter to the 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


Just Posted

Caps fall to Clippers in Nanaimo on Friday night

Clippers’ tying and winning goals come in less than a minute

Cowichan school district approves women’s winter shelter

The Cowichan Valley School District’s board of education has approved in principle… Continue reading

North Cowichan is Canada’s hot spot on Wednesday

The Warmland lives up to its name

Ladysmith Secondary School improv still groovy after 20 years

Catch performances Nov. 15th, 16th, 17th and 22nd, 23rd and 24th

New Coast Guard radar boosts marine traffic monitoring off B.C. coast

Six radar installations set up for Georgia Strait to Queen Charlotte Strait to Prince Rupert

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Vancouver Island remembers

Important stories shared as Islanders salute those who made the greatest sacrifice

Victoria spent $30,000 to remove John A. Macdonald statue

Contentious decision sparked controversy, apology from mayor

Privacy concerns over credit card use for legal online pot purchases

Worries follow privacy breaches at some Canadian cannabis retailers

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact political environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

Most Read