DEMOCRACY, taken for granted?
Submitted by Rick Williamson
Laker Gord Campbell stated that the breaking point for him was when the majority of the current Board withdrew their support for getting the Cultus Lake Park Act (CLPA) amended. Gord has written another email elaborating on his earlier statement and he has given me the OK to pass this on:
There is a basic principle in any democratic society that citizens have a right to hold their government accountable at election time. This is the way elected officials answer to those they serve and it is one of the very few tools citizens have to exercise their control.
We sometimes take our democracy for granted, but we should not and we must not. Just look at what’s going on in Hong Kong right now and you get a pretty good idea how important our democratic principles are. People are quite literally putting their lives on the line to try and achieve what we already have.
Except at Cultus Lake we didn’t have it. And then, at least to me, it looked like some of our Commissioners tried to stop us from achieving it, and for that there can be no excuse. Any time a politician is not willing to face the citizens they govern, you have to ask yourself why.
And while many think this should just be an issue for Cultus Lake, I submit it should also be an issue for the citizens of Chilliwack. This is not about some Park Board Commissioners trying to deny the citizens of Cultus Lake the right to elect their own Commissioners. To me, the issue is much broader. To me, it is about a group of politicians trying to deny a group of citizens their basic democratic rights. That should scare the pants off everyone. It should concern the electorate in Chilliwack every bit as much as the electorate at Cultus Lake. If politicians are going to try and limit basic, fundamental, democratic freedoms, then you have to ask yourself what else they are capable of.
I can guarantee that it would not matter where I lived, be it Cultus Lake, Chilliwack, or anywhere else. If I ever found out a candidate for political office had tried to ensure they would not have to be accountable at election time to those they govern, there isn’t a snowballs chance in you know where that they would ever get my vote.
As a reminder, on September 11, 2013, Commissioners Hall, Peter, Skonberg and Toews voted to withdraw Park Board support to ask the provincial government to have the Cultus Lake Park Act amended to bring a fair, representative democratic election process to Cultus Lake.