LETTERS: Democracy inaction

Editor:

Re: Time for one last question?, Feb. 19 editorial.

Editor:

Re: Time for one last question?, Feb. 19 editorial.

Your editorial, although well-argued, fails to inform the reader that question period is not available to citizens in the vast majority of cities within Metro Vancouver.

All the brouhaha surrounding question period’s termination in White Rock – from front-page headlines to an editorial – one would think democracy itself has been eliminated.

In theory, I have always favoured a venue where residents can put questions to council. However, as in our House of Commons, it is called “question period” and, unfortunately, not “answer period,” so its effectiveness and usefulness is being completely overrated.

I have long thought there has to be a more effective way to approach councillors in a less intimidating, more constructive fashion. Instead of fussing over the end of question period, I see this as an opportunity to implement the idea of ‘office hours’ for councillors, where not only questions can be posed but, more importantly, where different points of view can be expressed. It is a shame that your editorial did not offer a more positive, thoughtful option.

Hannah Newman, White Rock

• • •

It is sad to watch the slow death of democracy in White Rock.

The councillors we elected last November now wish to eliminate an important democratic mechanism: the council-meeting question period.

Some members of council say it is of no value, that people do not make use of the question period.

The new system will require a formal application a week before the next council meeting – perhaps long after council has made its decision.

Question period is in place to keep politicians honest by those who wish to ask uncomfortable questions of them.

During the term, significant development proposals will redefine our community. Important decisions about the future of White Rock will be made. The elimination of question period will give council a blank cheque by removing an extremely important democratic mechanism.

Ron Eves, White Rock