Our city could be on the cusp of great things, but it’s hard to tell sometimes when we’re pulled backward and downward.
Sordid civic politics were a centre of attention in Nanaimo again this week. A confidential e-mail was confoundingly made public; in it, Mayor Bill McKay offered opinions and criticisms of every member of council. The document, part of a facilitation process from last year, seems to have been leaked in order to cause embarrassment, and it does, in spades, along with collateral damage. It makes the mayor and every councillor look bad and it’s an indictment of city hall when confidential correspondence starts making the rounds on social media.
It’s also a concern that this situation has caused further embarrassment to Nanaimo as a city and a community. Enough negative distractions start becoming a detraction. When our reputation suffers, we have to care what others think, because we need to be able to do business and attract investment, homeowners and tourists.
Our civic pride matters, too. We can find sources of pride elsewhere in our community – nearly any direction we look, in fact – but our mayor and councillors are ambassadors and representatives and we shouldn’t just shrug our shoulders when they fail in those roles.
We believe city council is moving the business of Nanaimo forward and will continue to do so. Our trust in the judgment of the mayor and councillors doesn’t exist in a vacuum, though – there’s decision-making in day-to-day comportment and politicking, too.
Harmful name-calling isn’t what we do in Nanaimo. Creating discord isn’t what we do. At least, that’s what we’d like to believe. But distractions become a problem when we start allowing them to define us.