I have now been retired for two years in Qualicum Beach and have watched with “interest” the ongoing activities of the town’s mayor and councillors.
I feel it’s just good old democracy at work by a hard working group, who all appear to have pretty decent moral compasses.
In comparison though, I certainly cannot say the same about the absolutely disgraceful actions coming from eight of the nine current Nanaimo council members.
On May 5, Nanaimo council voted 8-1 to tear up a contract and cancel a Christian-themed “Leadercast” event at the city-owned Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
Coun. Fred Pattje, the author of the May 5 motion, apparently had “one or two” complaints that one of the sponsors, U.S. fast food chain Chick-Fil-A’s C.O.O., was a supporter of the traditional Christian view of marriage, and not of same-sex marriage.
Guest speakers on the simulcast included anti-Apartheid activist Desmond Tutu, Canadian-born writer Malcolm Gladwell and former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush.
Despite Nanaimo’s cancellation, the telecast was hosted without incident in both Victoria and Vancouver, as well as 800 other communities around the world.
Finally, after weeks of mounting pressure from religious groups and individuals, Nanaimo city council reluctantly back-pedaled and voted unanimously at a specially-called July 3 meeting to rescind their earlier May 5 decision.
Nanaimo’s mayor also offered a formal apology.
The B.C. Civil Liberties Association wrote Nanaimo city council July 4, stating that their May 5 motion amounted to discrimination on the basis of religion, and a violation of the freedom of assembly.
Wow. What an incredible mess for Nanaimo, all started because a couple of complainants happened to disagree with the viewpoint of one of the event’s sponsors.
Nanaimo residents should be super choked at these eight city councillors for, as I see it, discriminating against any religious organizations and/or people who would want to use publicly-owned buildings and they should demand to know how many tax dollars were spent in legal actions resulting from the cancellation of the Leadercast event .
It is not the role of any government (municipal, provincial, or federal) to define what we believe or what our faith includes. It also vindicates a higher principle, showing that government must tread very very carefully when it seeks to impose policies contrary to our most cherished rights.
Kenny G. Anderson