"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Best Wishes

I heard from Grace yesterday. She thanks everyone for their understanding and support. She is enjoying love, life, laughter and healing relaxation with family and friends and sends her best wishes.

Minus the Blog and readers, my life would be glum this morning. I don't remember ever feeling this way about a Town Hall situation before. But there is comfort in knowing I am not alone. I remember telling Grace when she was feeling down she should never underestimate the people. They are always there. They are paying attention. They are understanding and appreciating all you do. They proved it last night.

The Council chamber was full. Speaker after speaker expressed their dissatisfaction and vehemently insisted on their right to elect a replacement councillor to fill Grace's seat. Their powerful representation went unheeded.

So you may ask how did we arrive at this point? It's not complicated. I think we have to walk this path to arrive at something better. Our politics have been changing over the past number of years. Our town has grown. New elements have taken root and been able to flourish.

Campaign practices range widely in a free and democratic society. Some have taken hold which would not have passed without notice in the Town a few years ago.

In 1999, two week-ends before the election, a white RV was seen touring the town. I saw it on the second week-end and heard about it after the first. It was on John West Way festooned with banners naming candidates not to support. That was a first. Our politics are robust. But never so blatant and with such intensity.

I saw the vehicle in Tim Horton's parking lot. I have regretted not getting out of my car and asking the driver to whose campaign he belonged to. There were other banners naming a slate of candidates to support.

Phyllis Morris did not win the Mayor's chair that year. John West was re-elected at the head of the poll. The negative tactics may have had a positive effect.

Organizations have been involved before. The Regional Police and the Firefighters Associations put on their own separate little stints. Candidates would receive a phone call. There would be a series of questions always ending with the same two. How do you rate the importance of this public service and would you vote to provide whatever we need to do the job.

The Police Act prohibits involvement in politics for members of a police force. It doesn't mean they can't exercise their rights. Just that they can't do it as policemen. In the last election they went underground and called themselves Lawmen of York Region.

In these days of contract negotiations, it is a ridiculous exercise. The intended result would be to advise members of the association which candidates deserved their support.

It was so guileless, it was funny. All a candidate needed to do was give the correct answers. I could never make myself do it. It was entirely unlikely anyone would ever know I had sold out the store. Those who did would likely see nothing wrong. I never thought the Associations had the power to significantly influence their membership.

Maybe I had scrupulosity of an amateur. Maybe a wild-eyed radical. A hopeless idealist. Whatever it was I could not play the silly game.

So I forfeit the popular vote. I reach instead for the vote that will allow me to be the person I am. Because all of these years there has been a place for someone like me. It's the secret knowledge that binds me to this place and the politics of our time.


Anonymous said...

I attended Tuesday's council Meeting and was quite intrigued by the continuing obstinence of Mayor Morris and her sidekick Evilina Mac.Despite the overwhelming support for a byelection, these two plus the simple Mr. Granger voted against holding a vote. Why?Could it be Morris and Mac want John Gallo. Town sources say he is not a big picture whats best for the town but rather another caterer to special interests. Just what Aurora needs right now another Morris syncophant.

Anonymous said...

Councillor Buck, I read your comments that members of regional police association went "underground" to get around the law that prohits them from involvement in politics. That's why they used the name "Lawmen of York Region". Are you suggesting they broke the police act? A very serious claim.

If you are correct, then a more serious question arises - do they break any other requirements / laws? Should the public continue to have confidence in their ability to enforce the law without bias.

I understand your comments to say that their personal gain comes before the law.