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

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Retired Gordon Head teacher not ready to ride into the sunset

86-year-old keeping active with marathon paddling trek and week-long cycling tour

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

‘On the Cusp’ debuts at Victoria store front

Camosun Visual Arts students present new exhibit

Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations open new RV Park

Both Nations excited about new economic venture

UVic’s Gustavson goes carbon neutral for air travel

As a way to offset the frequent airplane travel that comes with… Continue reading

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Ballet Victoria soirée fundraiser a prelude to final show of season

Company winds up its 15th season in the city with Peter Pan next month

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Most Read