In Which I Get Outraged at…Oshawa?
If you read me regularly you may have noticed I’m writing less, well, regularly, recently. I’ve promised myself to cut back on political blogging while I try to finish my thesis so the bar is pretty high for a political/democracy story to force me to comment with a full blog post. I have to say, I’m surprised at the democratic district that has done it….Oshawa.
(this is the part where the Torontonian author deletes all kinds of snidy remarks about Oshawa.)
The Oshawa city council just held municipal elections a few months ago just like the rest of Ontario. Now, just three months after that election one of their councillors has had to step down because of a previously unknown job conflict. So the council has decided that rather than hold a by-election to fill the seat they’ll just appoint someone to sit out the full term.
Is you’re blood starting to boil yet? No? Are you sure you’re reading the right blog?
Ok, what about this?
But councillor Nester Pidwerbecki insisted the majority of taxpayers don’t support the added expense of another vote.
How’s that even relevant? The majority of voters might not support all kinds of things like taxes, or rights for minorities or the sitting government in parliament… We don’t change the way the system fundamentally works every time a majority of people think so. That’s why we have a constitution which requires a supermajority to change and centuries of common law that can’t be overridden on a whim. And how do you know a majority doesn’t support it without holding an election?
But alright, maybe you’re still not feeling it? Ok, how about if councillor Nancy Diamond said this:
“We need to get this albatross off the back of council … and get that empty seat filled with the very best person we can find,”
The “very best person we can find”. That’s just fantastic. That’s democracy in action, searching the land for “good people” and letting a council of wise men decide who shall have power and who shall not in the best interests of the land. That’s what all those civil wars in England were for, that’s what all those wars in Europe were fought for, that’s what the suffrage movement and the civil rights movement and others have been fighting for throughout the centuries. So Oshawa city council can decide they know best and just pick someone to sit out the next four years rather than go through the bother of asking the people. Oh and it saves some money too, about a $1 a voter. So you know, you could either keeps centuries of tradition, the foundation of our modern democratic society and the rule of law or you could get a dollar to put towards your double-double tomorrow morning.
Am I overreacting? Yes I’m overreacting. And I think it’s worth overreacting over a decision that seems to have made so offhandedly. It means people in our city councils don’t actually think of themselves as being selected to serve in a democratic system. They think they have been anointed, that they are the chosen wise ones who know what is best for those they represent rather than being hired by those people to do a job they don’t want to do.
Oshawa. I never thought I’d write a post about you, don’t make this the only time. Make me write another one next week where I get to use the sentence “Oshawa quickly came to it’s senses and made the right decision.”