The success and effectiveness of elected officials is determined by their willingness and ability to exercise judgment in their decisions.
Some of the candidates advertise that their decisions will be governed by consulting the electorate. While this may make for good press, it doesn’t necessarily make for good decisions. The only way to effectively measure the pulse of an electorate on any one particular issue is to hold a referendum on that issue. Clearly, the awkwardness and cost of holding a myriad of referenda militates against doing so.
So, how does the candidate measure what the community wants? Delegating decisions back to the electorate through “consultation’’ risks only listening to those with vested interests — whether for NIMBY reasons or pro, or anti-progress reasons. Is council then to listen to the loudest voices and ignore the quieter ones in making its decision? That would not be realistic nor fair.
The alternative is to hold elections at regular intervals and vote for the candidates who best put forward a position that reflects the vision and desires of the electorate. To my mind, the candidates who only stand for consultation stand for nothing. It takes courage to stand on one’s platform to actually do something or to try to achieve something. To vote ‘no’ on any proposal is nearly completely riskless because it is difficult to be cited for doing the wrong thing when one does nothing. If we want nothing to change, it would be simpler to give direction to the municipal staffs to simply follow the OCP and we would no longer need a council to exercise their discretion.
It seems to me, therefore, that if we want council to achieve something, it is more meaningful to vote for a candidate that has the courage to stand on a specific platform and have our confidence to exercise sound judgment in the decisions they take.
Mike WansinkQualicum Beach