Nov. 19 on the Sunshine Coast: Vote for those who care for the community
Are you on the side of the 1% or the 99%?
“We need intelligent leaders with a sense of their own limits, experienced people whose lives have taught them caution. We still need the best and brightest, but we need them to have somehow learned humility along the way.” – Ross Douthat, The New York Times
As we approach upcoming municipal elections across B.C., within the larger context of the global Occupy movement, I urge all voters on the Sunshine Coast to consider:
- Who will best honour public (community) interests, input, and involvement in local decision-making, rather than the private interests of developers and logging companies?
- Who is willing to create or support new, sustainable business models that will protect our environment and reflect the long-term interests of the Sunshine Coast as a whole, rather than make localized choices for short-term gain?
The group Sunshine Coast Citizens for Responsible Development recently stated:
“We support responsible smart development, which includes involving the greater community in decisions affecting us all. Your vote may decide whether your town becomes a free-for-all for developers or whether you will be allowed to participate in what happens in your town and your ability to freely speak about it.
“It is important that we have elected officials who are working for the people and not looking at ways to silence them. Please get out and vote this time around and encourage others to do so as well. There is a lot at stake and once it’s gone, it’s gone.”
I support this position. At the world level, it is clear that “the people” (99%) are tired of having their voices, interests, and needs ignored or minimized. Any election is a powerful time to change this dynamic. In our local scene, we can vote for someone who will support collaborative, transparent government and not choose profits over people.
In journalism, we’re taught: “Follow the money.” What private organizations or individuals are funding a certain election campaign and why? Whose interests are some candidates truly representing? Follow alliances, public and private, and see where they lead.
As a Roberts Creek resident, I support incumbent Donna Shugar as our representative from Area D. Donna is great at bringing together community members with conflicting interests, creating an open and respectful public forum to air views, and responding with a decision that truly reflects the majority viewpoint. (As Occupy movement members like to say: “This is what democracy looks like.”) She has an excellent track record and I like what she stands for:
- An inclusive community where all our citizens enjoy a healthy environment and economic dignity
- Ensuring the opportunities of future generations are not compromised by our actions today
- Balancing the priorities of environmental responsibility, economic resilience, health and social well-being, cultural vitality
- Dialogue, negotiation, and consensus-building
- An economy built on small local enterprise.
I think it’s appalling – and telling — that at this week’s Green Issues Forum in Gibsons, hosted by the Sunshine Coast Conservation Association, candidates such as Wayne Rowe (running for Gibsons mayor) and Barb Hague (Area D) did not appear. If these people can’t be bothered to show up to participate in public dialogue about important local environmental issues, from logging on Mount Elphinstone and independent power projects to the Chapman Creek watershed, why on earth would they care what people think if they were elected?
I urge everyone on the Sunshine Coast to vote on November 19 for those who represent our version of the 99%, not the 1%. My anarchic heart recognizes the huge limitations that our regional district faces when dealing with the Ministry of Forests and other larger government bodies, but I still fundamentally believe in an individual’s democratic power, and right, to vote. People in other countries are dying to gain this right. Let’s not squander ours.
November 6, 2011 at 7:32 pm