Perhaps democracy is a difficult concept to understand for some people. I had it bombed into me as a child in England during the Second World War.
There are many people in our city whose families have grown up and now have the time and energy and desire to contribute to their community. Many volunteer in civic affairs by joining advisory committees, attending workshops and town hall meetings, and watch their councillors in action by attending council meetings. Citizens care and feel it’s their right to help to improve and protect the livability of their community and express their opinions if they feel that their livability is being challenged. Citizens understand that living in a democratic system means it’s necessary to keep working at it. Democracy does have a tendency to move around and slip sideways and redefine itself.
Canadians have created a legal and judicial system that, together with a political structure, protects and defends the true meaning of democracy. Canadians love to experience the freedom to speak openly and express their opinions without fear.
So where else to better demonstrate that freedom but at a council meeting or at a public town hall meeting before ones own peers and elected public representatives, the very stewards we elect to protect our freedom.
When Coun. Linda Buchanan, who freely chose to jump into the public arena, expressed her opinion at council Monday night she clearly didn’t understand she was stirring up a hornet’s nest. She said she was tired of listening to the same voices who attend public meetings and council meetings and who complain about the same things, and that she wished instead to hear from other people – who will say what she wants to hear, I presume.
Her total lack of respect for her fellow citizens, many of whom have participated as volunteers for more than 20 years, is regrettable. She certainly misunderstands how democracy works. Coun. Buchanan was elected by the citizens, the taxpayers of our little city to do the work they expect of her. That is why we pay her. It’s up to her to demonstrate to the citizens how well she understands her role: that it’s not to just be a mouthpiece for others on council, but as a thoughtful independent individual who listens well to the community. Maybe she can be excused for forgetting her lines since her “slate” companion, Coun. Craig Keating, was absent from council Monday evening.
Coun. Buchanan should be proud that she has a vibrant audience who care a great deal about their city and do not want it turned into a metropolis as someone else’s idea of grandeur to compete with our mountains.
So please, Coun. Buchanan, take heed: citizens are already saying that they too are tired of your constant rhetoric.
Ivan Leonard North Vancouver