It was particularly apropos to watch the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald swinging in the breeze on a recent news clip. There he was, our former prime minister and member of Parliament, publicly hung without trial, lawyer or supporting voice to speak on his behalf. And why? Because Mayor Lisa Helps and “The Family” decided with their “unbiased” clarity of 20/20 hindsight, that this was the only way forward.
So Lisa Helps, is this the “revision” democracy that Victoria can expect if you’re re-elected for another term? The revisioned democracy that sees just you and your selected Family anoint yourselves as the sole conscience of the city, so you can hold meetings in the shadows, and then arbitrate on the “re-imagining” and “recontextualizing” of Victoria, British Columbia and Canadian history?
Clearly, your personal vision of democracy sees no problem with blindsiding your constituents on highly controversial issues, or with making sure they have no meaningful opportunity to provide input to these issues before action is taken. And just as clearly, your revisioned democracy embraces the blindsiding of city councillors too, so that informed debate is stifled and any dissenting councillors are placed at risk of being labeled as ignorant or unsupportive of the reconciliation initiative.
Of course Lisa Helps, if you don’t think the voters will support your planned action, you could always educate them, ask them, take your vote, and abide by the results. But when you keep your voters and your councillors in the dark, and when you disenfranchise your constituents on important issues by preventing all dissenting dialogue, then you are subverting democracy. And then you, Lisa Helps, are not worthy of being called mayor.