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.