The silence is deafening

With the present kerfuffle over the Skaha Lake Park dispensation, the city has remained silent and avoided any comments or commentary on the subject.

It begs the question be asked, has a gag order been issued by their legal counsel or does a quote usually credited to Abraham Lincoln come into play here? The quote that may apply to council’s apparent stoicism might read like this, “It is better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt!”

Unlike action, words cannot be unsaid. Actions can be undone. Sir Isaac Newton proved that.

Speaking of words, let’s revisit democracy and the democratic process. By definition (Oxford Dictionary), Democracy is “a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives.” Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

If one looks into the tenets of democracy one finds several articles defining democracy. Two of these that stand out are: accountability and transparency. One might wonder and ask as to how these two apply to our local government. These terms revisited? Deja vu?

In a democracy, elected and appointed officials have to be accountable to the people. They are responsible for their actions. Officials must make decisions and perform their duties according to the will and wishes of the people, not for themselves.

In a democracy, for government to be accountable, the people must be made aware of what is happening in their locale (country, city, province et al.) This is referred to as transparency of government. A transparent government holds public meetings and allows citizens to attend. In a democracy, the press and the people are able to get information about what decisions are being made, by whom and why.

From my perspective, the dispensation (virtual giveaway) of Skaha Lake Park for private venture is a picture of abstract democracy in action. Abstract democracy refers to “massaging the tenets of  democracy” to fit personal goals that others have little or no say in. Are you listening Mr. Mayor and council?

Ron Barillaro

Penticton