The Pieceful Coast

Earlier this week, I was traversing the waters of Howe Sound in the metallic bosom of a BC Ferry.  From my car’s vantage point, I had a stellar view as the vessel cut through the stillness of the fjord.   And then it struck me how the calm waters of the Sound were a considerable contrast from the raging typhoons howling in the political arenas of the Sunshine Coast.

Neighbours, I am concerned. The gales that have occurred on our Coast the past few weeks are twisting opinions, pitting us against each other. Citizens are being disrespectful of other points of view, simply because it is not what they feel.  Rather than debating the issue, personal attacks are whipping around, stinging sand in to our community’s heart.

Healthy discourse and disagreement is part of the democratic process.  Running rampant with rumours,  fear mongering and throwing mud may advance your cause in the short term but in the long term, it will only further distance you from it. Negativity disenfranchises voters, especially newer voters, whom are simply trying to disseminate through the information to find the FACTS to make the best, or most palatable, decision for their future.

Coastally, we have some very real challenges facing us over the next few years: aging infrastructure, lack of services for our elderly populace, a deficit in young people and families, the need for affordable, safe housing and economic development to name a few.

We will still be neighbours after November 15, whether it be directly next door, in the same jurisdiction or as Port Mellon and Egmont. This Coast is our home.

Today is the 25th Anniversary of the Demolition of the Berlin Wall.   The significance of this day in our global history should not escape us.   Politics divided families, friends and citizens for decades.  Let us not divide our own community in to separate pieces along opinion and posturing.

I truly believe in the following, and even though it was written in the context of contract negotiation, it fits for election time.

Whether you look from left or right
Your politics do not matter
It’s for our kids we must fight
But not leave each other in tatter

The balance of the modern world is found
in the harmony of success
even arguments can be a sweet sound
In their tangled, ugly mess

At the end of this… we rebuild
relationships, community, schools, our self
We try and forget of animosity that filled
But wait for the next contract to come off shelf

(excerpt from “Poem from a Negotiation Observer”)

In one week from today, we will know the make-up of our municipal governments for the next four years.    And for those four years,  we will continue to be neighbours.

We don’t have to be friends.

But let’s bring some peace to the Coast by treating each other with a bit more respect.

Open Letter to all #SunshineCoastCa Candidates

Open letter to all Sunshine Coast Candidates..

The past few weeks, Voice on the Coast has been heavily concentrated on encouraging members of the public to get involved in the Electoral process. We have held a forum, attended candidates meetings, circulated questionnaires to all candidates (acclaimed and those on the campaign trail)

One of the things that I personally have asked the public to do is to speak directly to those running for office. ASK them the questions that matter to YOU and your family and friends. And the public is doing that! I think that’s AWESOME.

Well, it was brought to my attention that someone has asked repeatedly for questions to be answered, specific to their family situation, and has waited WEEKS now for an answer. This voter has followed up numerous times. And been put off. This is a two-vote household, with both members under age 35.

CANDIDATES – please do not do this.
You are in the interview process right now. Don’t mess it up. November 15 is a few short days away. Are you REALLY interested in being hired?

This opportunity to speak directly to the public about what matters to them is incredible. Embrace it. Learn the stories that shape our coast. Answer the tough questions.

MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC – please keep asking questions. You’re the boss here.
Nervous about asking/not sure what to ask? Send me an email. I’ll help.

Lori Pratt
VOICE on the Coast