Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Did I Really Just Hear That?

Greetings and salutations my friends! I apologize for the sudden and abrupt end to my regular postings. As I mentioned in my last post I have made the decision to run for city council in the Halifax Regional Municipality municipal elections this fall. However, while sitting at today's Regional Council session, one of the current councilors made a statement which furthered my resolve to pursue this course.

"Councilor's can override the will of the people. They have that power."
"Sometimes a councilor must make a decision that is contrary to the will of the people because it is best for the people even if they don't know it."

I'll let those words sink in for a minute. Now, I am working from memory and those may not be exact quotations but they are pretty damned close. There is so much wrong with these two statements that it frightens me to consider their true, deeper meaning. Before I get to that, let's just examine them one at a time and I'll explain my concerns; concerns that you should have as well.

"Councilor's can override the will of the people. They have that power."

This sentence is extremely alarming. Elected representatives, also known as public servants, can at their whim, ignore the will of the people. I was not aware and received no memo alerting me to the fact that elected officials had supreme authority. The very meaning of representative means to stand in place of. Public officials do not have power over the people but rather, power of the people. They have been authorized by the citizens who elected them to speak on their behalf. It was my understanding from the source of this statement that city councilor's in Halifax have the right and the authority to make decisions contrary to the demand of their constituents. Frightening.

"Sometimes a councilor must make a decision that is contrary to the will of the people because it is best for the people even if they don't know it."

Firstly, no elected representative, at any time should be making any decisions that are contrary to the will of the people. The very position is defined by the fact that you are the people. Contradictions do not exist and for any representative to act contrary to the demand of their constituents is to act contrary to themselves. This cannot possibly be. Your public servants are not servants at all by this creed, they are masters. Let's move on to the second portion of this statement shall we?

Even if they don't know it? What do you take the public for? If you or all those who did not oppose this statement spent some time with your constituents you would have thought twice about saying something like this. What a terrible, terrible insult to the intelligence of the people. During my work with the Occupy Nova Scotia movement I bore witness to a number of very cunning ploys that some people attempted to throw over the heads of the General Assembly. Each time, my fears were embarrassingly relieved as that same public saw the ruse and promptly discarded it. Embarrassing because I too once underestimated the people but let me reassure you good councilors, they are not to be. They are quite intelligent and as it stands, they are quite annoyed. And with statements like this, who wouldn't be?

I made a promise to myself that if I ever entered any political arena that I would do things my way; my right way. And my right way involved some old, very old, traditions that have been forgotten. The most important of which is Honesty. Another is trust. But one that was as equally important was my integrity. I am running to be elected to represent the people because it is one of the greatest honor's I think a person can be given. It is a sacred duty and privilege to serve in the name of the people. That is why I have made it my mission to not talk negatively about my opponents or any specific candidates. This isn't a race; it's an application. The last time I checked, employers wanted to know about me and not about other people being interviewed. With that in mind, I will not however refrain from expressing my concerns or opinions regarding comments, statements and actions by the current governments at any level (excepting perhaps Stephen Harper, I'll call him out for his insanity any day).

I'm sharing this today because I think it's important to understand the psychology at play here. The deeper, scarier meaning to these statements is that it came at the Municipal level. This is the bottom tier of authority when it comes to governance here in Canada. It is grassroots and though it is important due to its impact on day to day life, it is definitely nothing as glorified as provincial or federal politics. That at this level of governance, our elected representatives know what is best regardless of the public will and can exercise that knowing with supreme authority is just frightening. I dare not imagine how provincial or federal politicians see themselves...inconceivable to consider how his Holiness Supreme Chancellor & King of Canada, Stephen Harper views himself...

It was nice to be able to write for you. I wish it had been something a little cheerier however this was weighing deeply on my mind. I want to thank those who've been checking in every so often to see if I've posted. I promise I will try to do a little better but a political campaign is no picnic but definitely worth it for the opportunity to be the change.