EDITORIAL: Relationship renovations

White Rock mayor has a notable way with words when it comes to criticizing the PM’s visit to his city

In September, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin was roundly criticized for not notifying the Semiahmoo First Nation of the city’s planned upgrades to Memorial Park.

Chief Harley Chappell – who said he learned of civic plans for the unceded land in an online Peace Arch News article the night before a planned groundbreaking ceremony – called the move “disrespectful to us and our ancestors in every way.” Invited attendees were instead treated to the mayor lecturing the chief that his reaction “was not making our relations any better,” and the project sits in limbo to this day.

The term ‘disrespectful,’ however, seems to have stuck with Baldwin, who Monday responded in open council to a visit last week by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to federal byelection candidate Gordon Hogg’s home turf.

In the mayor’s own words:

“I’ve been asked by a number of people where was I when the prime minister was here, and where was council. The fact of the matter was we were not told about the event, the visit. And this matter was exacerbated by the fact that the group came into city hall to get warm, before they proceeded to Laura’s (Coffee Shop).

“So I must say publicly that I consider the lack of notification to the city council to visit the sitting prime minister to be extremely disappointing, disrespectful and a total breach of protocol. The fact that Semiahmoo First Nations Chief Chappell, who lives in Chilliwack, was invited in sufficient time to make it here would indicate that time was not really a factor. And I will be writing a letter to local Liberal riding and the prime minister’s office; when a sitting prime minister visits a city, it is only reasonable to expect that the welcome to the city would come from the mayor and council, not from the former mayor and nearby First Nations chief.”

Baldwin certainly has a point. Irrespective that Trudeau was no doubt here as Liberal party leader to raise awareness of his candidate’s campaign, he is indeed the country’s prime minister and the city should have been formally notified. That the visit was announced publicly the evening before – and that at least three of Baldwin’s councillors were spotted among the crowd of more than 1,000 – doesn’t excuse the oversight.

But words can be powerful. In this case, we suggest you study Baldwin’s word choices, as they paint a gloomy picture of the potential of future relations between the city and a “former mayor,” a “nearby First Nations chief,” a riding association, the government of Canada and our prime minister.

While Trudeau’s visit was all about the Dec. 11 federal byelection, no doubt the next civic election – scheduled for Oct. 20, 2018 – is on some people’s minds, too.

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Nov. 15 visit to White Rock made an impression on (clockwise from top left) Couns. Helen Fathers, Bill Lawrence and David Chesney (shown, bottom right, with Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell and Liberal candidate Gordon Hogg).

Just Posted

SkyTrain for Surrey wants LRT pulled from Mayors’ Council plan

Mayor Linda Hepner rejects any notion that the project can wait

Four years for manslaughter in Surrey drive-by shooting

Mahdi Halane was rendered a quadriplegic until his death in hospital six years later at age 24.

Author at Surrey event glad to have book published ‘before reality totally overtakes fiction’

Ari Goelman, a business and criminology instructor, speaks at KPU Reads gathering Jan. 22

South Surrey overpass repairs to get underway in February

Schedule for Bailey bridge work also announced

White Rock cannabis and adult entertainment bylaws to move to public hearings

Council will seek input on potential of allowing contentious businesses in city limits

Simulated whale rescue on White Rock beach

Training endeavour aimed to ready crews for future strandings

Trump aces mental aptitude test designed by Canadian immigrant

“This is a good example, I think, that will be helpful to change views about immigration. And maybe for Mr. Trump himself to consider immigrants as contributors to advancing science, advancing our societies.”

Rival Koreas agree to form first unified Olympic team

The rival Koreas took major steps toward reducing their bitter animosity

Canada, U.S. lead call for sanctions against North Korea

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting in Vancouver to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh announces engagement

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh engaged to clothing designer Gurkiran Kaur

Hijab-cutting case highlights ethical issues with putting kids in spotlight

A Toronto police investigation has concluded a girl’s hijab was not cut by a scissors-wielding man as she walked to school

Change in politics, society on sexual misconduct ‘not fast enough,’ says Trudeau

Trudeau says society still lagging behind the systemic changes he is trying to make when it comes to preventing and responding to sexual harassment

Bank of Canada to make interest rate decision today

Economists widely believe that based on the economic environment, it’s likely interest rates will rise today

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

Most Read