The success of the recent no-HST referendum shows us two things.
First, democracy works if you get enough people behind the issue.
Second, and more importantly, elected officials are not always right in their decisions.
Just because four members of council say something is right doesn’t necessarily mean that the majority of the community agrees.
Some members of council have stated that we can’t be governed by referenda, that they were elected to govern and if the community disagrees with their decision, they have the opportunity to not vote for them at the next election.
Here’s a novel idea. Why does council not encourage more input from the community before decisions are made?
There is a tool in the governing process that is not used to its full benefit anymore. That is a plebiscite, which many are now referring to this as a non-binding referendum.
The difference is that a referendum asks for permission to do something, as in borrowing for a certain project. A plebiscite simply asks for the electorate’s opinion, as in do you agree in this or do you disagree with that?
A few local issues that could qualify are:
“Do you agree with water meters?” or “Do you object to political signs on public thoroughfares?”
Council is not bound to react to the outcome, but if nothing else it would be aware of how the majority of those who voted feel about any particular issue.
More and more we hear that people don’t participate in the political process because they feel that their voice is not being heard. Well, here is the chance.
Give the community a voice and I am sure that they will use it. Possibly to the greater benefit of the overall community.
D.W. (Don) Davis,