The benefits of democracy have been in the forefront of media topics, our Legions and schools as the honouring of those who fought and continue to fight to uphold this important concept was commemorated November 11.
Canadian and provincial flags are flown to symbolize the democratic presence in our country.
Governments: federal, provincial and municipal are elected by citizens with the expectation that their best interests will be served in responsible, ethical and unbiased ways.
Both elected and appointed officials must always be cognizant of these expectations and not let personal feelings or biases tempt them to impose these feelings or biases without thought or consideration of the electorate.
At the federal and provincial levels of government there are visible ‘checks and balances’ – one being an elected opposition. Often overlooked and not considered by municipal government is that the citizens are, in a sense, the opposition (in this connotation opposition is defined as ‘the political party not in power’).
All Canadian governments are elected democratically by the majority of eligible citizens but this does not mean they have a mandate to rule arbitrarily with the expectation that they cannot be challenged by the electorate from time to time.
I am quite concerned when I hear an elected official make a statement, in response to a citizen’s concerns, such as: “If you want change you should run for office”.
Also, when the implementation of a policy has been questioned and clarity is requested as to how and why said policy was enacted – official response being – “because we can”.
Elected officials bear the responsibility of engaging citizens in a respectful manner and not letting themselves be caught up in petty tactics which intimidate, marginalize or otherwise impede citizens’ access to the democratic process.
In some jurisdictions the municipal government has less governing members than local clubs and groups.
As well, we, as citizens, have an obligation to be respectful of others’ opinions and concerns and are bound to research the facts of any and all situations involving government, groups or individuals.
Never should anyone resort to ‘over the fence’ uninformed discussions, consider a difference of opinion to be ‘negative’ or propagate anonymous ‘hate’ mail.
Remember Them – Lest We Forget