EDITORIAL: Conspicuous absences

White Rock’s political leaders are being offered opportunities more and more frequently to hear from those who elected them.

White Rock’s political leaders are being offered opportunities more and more frequently to hear from those who elected them.

As part of the burgeoning development proposals for the small city, proponents are asked to host public-information meetings to present and discuss their projects to their would-be neighbours.

And, in recent months, the public is doing their part, attending in droves.

Yet conspicuous by their absences are several members of council, who clearly could learn a thing or two about residents’ views.

No matter what reasons or rationalizations these members have for missing individual meetings, a pattern has become evident mere months into their long four-year term. And that pattern seems to break the compact they entered into with voters when they were elected last November.

We are talking about the opportunity to meet with voters face-to-face and hear their concerns, their fears and, yes, even their anger. We are talking about the opportunity to start a conversation – no matter how difficult – that might, eventually, lead to mutual understanding on the need to balance our priorities for the future and our responsibilities for the present.

This, we dare to suggest, is the role of council members in a community; indeed politicians at all levels of government.

In this day and age, in which soundbites and social-media posts seem to define our ‘reality’, we have seen increased reliance on a political concept that has actually been around for a long time – the notion of government by photo-op, geared only to keeping up appearances.

We have seen, too, what an easy road this is for elected officials to take. But the fact is that our representatives were not elected simply for the fun stuff, the feel-good stuff.

With the public question period at White Rock council meetings now a matter of history, there are few remaining toe-in-the-water opportunities for such direct feedback. People can make appointments for future delegations to council, it’s true, but that is a vehicle only for another speech – not a dialogue. And that’s why attending public meetings is so important.

Unless council members henceforth plan to govern by edict only, there is one appearance that must be preserved – and that is the appearance of being genuinely concerned.

That is, assuming city council members still want to represent the opinions of the people who elected them.

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: Surrey RCMP supporters make noise during rally outside city hall

‘Keep the RCMP in Surrey’ leader Ivan Scott says municipal force ‘not a done deal’

International South Asian expo pitched for Surrey’s Bear Creek Park

Mayor Doug McCallum says the idea ‘shows a lot of promise’

White Rock council declares disapproval of ride-hailing rules

City to submit resolution to UBCM, send letter to B.C. Passenger Transportation Board

Sikh millworker lodges human rights complaint against Interfor, again

Mander Sohal, fired from Delta’s Acorn Mill, alleges discrimination based on religion and disability

Developer offers free Tesla 3 with purchase of South Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

Vancouver police officer hit with bear spray mid-arrest

Officer had been trying to arrest a woman wanted province-wide

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Most Read

l -->