To the Editor,
Re: No referendum on water borrowing, June 30.
The recent council meeting which saw this city council overturn a previous decision to allow the people a say in the decision to borrow more than $22 million to fund a water treatment plant is another blow to democracy in Nanaimo.
While professing to believe in democracy, the actions/inactions of this city council would contradict that profession.
Democracy is governing by the people, and in order for the people to truly govern, they must be engaged, informed and, finally, properly allowed to participate in the process.
This decision to rely on an alternate approval process, rather than trusting the people with the power of a referendum, clearly shows how shallow council’s beliefs in democracy truly are.
It also suggests a hidden desire to manipulate the outcome to align with their belief we should be going further into debt to fund this treatment plant.
Another disturbing observation is this council’s apparent unwillingness to fully engage the democratic process to secure more funding for this project from senior levels of government. They seem completely unwilling to accept the fact that even the all-powerful Vancouver Island Health Authority should have to take its direction from the people in this matter.
If the people were able to clearly express their objections to the fact that a $65-million expenditure is being imposed on them by a bureaucracy, and that bureaucracy takes direction from a senior level of government, then the people should be able to demand the senior level of government provide all of the funding for this project.
However, that would require a much greater faith in the democratic system and how it should function on the part of this city council.
It clearly has little demonstrated interest in fully participating and with this decision have pretty much closed the door on the chance the people will be able to participate either.