There’s a reason why 22 candidates are running for council and five are running for mayor.
Most people are aware that over the course of the past three or four city councils, the democratic process has become so far removed from city hall as to seem non-existent at times.
Decisions are made in advance by the administration and council and the public hearing and input process is merely a formality required by the Municipal Act. Those appearing before council with anything other than business or development proposals can generally expect to be treated in a condescending and dismissive way by mayor and council. Anyone who has attended as a delegate or watched council meetings will know this is true.
Concerned citizens who work up the nerve to appear before council, because they care about the city and their neighbourhoods are cross-examined, put on the defensive and treated as NIMBY’s (Anyone who opposes development of any kind is referred to as a NIMBY – a simple way of dismissing the concerns of citizens).
It’s gotten so bad that at one of the last council meetings I attended, one councillor even said, “The only one who spoke in support of this rezoning application was the developer himself,” and yet the mayor and some of the other councillors kept talking about “being fair to the developer.” How about being fair to city residents who have nothing financial to gain for a change?
City hall should not be pro-business or pro-development. The chamber of commerce looks after Whitehorse business interests and city council should be looking after the interests of the people of Whitehorse, first and foremost.
There are some absolutely great candidates running in this election so there is no excuse to not get out and vote. It’s the perfect time and opportunity to make city hall accountable to Whitehorse residents once again.
One of the newspaper editorials made reference to the election “not getting personal” but I feel it is all about the people we vote for. The successful candidates are answerable to the citizens of Whitehorse and they can’t forget that. It’s all about what they can do for the people of Whitehorse while they are in office.
Get out and vote, people. And you don’t have to fill in all six boxes – so don’t vote for a name just because it “rings a bell.” Vote only for those you feel will do the best job possible.
It’s time for change.