EDITORIAL: Public input includes people

With Enbridge hearings in Victoria shutting out residents, the government is not leaving us with the impression public interest is welcome.

The key to public hearings is obviously public input.

With the Enbridge hearings in Victoria shutting out residents interested in attending the proceedings and Victoria MLA Murray Rankin being refused entry, the government is not leaving us with the impression that public interest is welcome.

The process of registering to speak is tried and true. However, relegating the great unwashed to a hotel kilometres away from where the hearings are taking place, allowing the public only to view the proceedings in a video feed from fixed cameras is not open, transparent information gathering.

We all want the sessions to run smoothly without interruptions from noisy protesters. Ugly disruptions create an oppressive atmosphere, rather than one of courtesy and respect, which enables everyone to voice their opinion without feeling threatened.

However, posting uniformed police outside the hearing room and forcing the public to view the hearings from a distance of more than two kilometres only alienates the people who it is trying to engage.

Talks held across the country have been uneventful. The most threatening event so far has been a large community gathering which formed a welcoming committee of sorts for the panel at the Bella Bella hearings. That situation delayed the process by one day.

The Enbridge pipeline proposal is controversial. For some, registering their name in advance, standing in front of a panel of strangers, explaining their concerns or expressing their approval is comfortable and acceptable. For others, voicing their concerns in an old-fashioned, free-spirited way with placards and songs is the way they want to express themselves. And for some of us, being able to see and hear the presentations for ourselves is how we become involved.

Separating the people from the process is not the way to earn trust and make sure the public interest is served.

 

Just Posted

Police find shoes, backpack of the man found dead in Saanich

Officers credit public’s help, continue to seek information

Head of Greater Victoria builders says Saanich’s new climate goals require meaningful action

VRBA’s Casey Edge says Saanich must launch a retrofit program for local building stock.

Saanich resident leads crusade against cigarettes in B.C. drugstores

Province allows drugstores to sell cigarettes and some feel policy should change, retailers disagree

Saanich councillor fears weed could crowd out food as greenhouses convert

Head of provincial association representing greenhouse vegetable farmers not worried about issue

PHOTOS: Check out the bells and whistles added to Westhills Stadium

Rick Stiebel/News Staff Clusters of tradespeople buzzing around busy with last-minute preparations… Continue reading

VIDEO: Come along for the ride on Tour de Victoria

Reporter captures video footage of his Tour de Victoria ride

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Five hedgehogs quickly adopted after being left at BC SPCA

Lucky new owners picked up their pets from Maple Ridge branch on Aug. 20

B.C. cricket players get interrupted by racist remark

Community has had protocols in place for years to respond to prejudice

Groovy B.C. wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Nearly 50% of Canadians experience the ‘post-vacation blues’: poll

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

Most Read