Editor, The Record:
The democratic response by District of Mission council to defeat the P3 deal is encouraging but sadly mayors at Mission and Abbotsford are seemingly too often cut from the same cloth.
In Mission the mayor misunderstands public opinion, claiming he feels it is only the private operating part that the public object to, whereas, it is private involvement with public water, period!
Abbotsford’s mayor is far more dictatorial in his arrogant claims that it is likely his council will vote to submit the P3 proposal, but that he doesn’t want to prejudice how individual councillors will vote. Wow, a veiled threat if there ever was one.
It is simply ironic how a democratic process like a public hearing, this time on water, our most important ingredient to life, can meet with such divergent council interpretation of effective communication with the public. At Mission, typically the public is cynical of council and expect a sham hearing, but giving credit when due, this council meeting was actually fair and reasonable. Council supported public opinion, much to the chagrin of the mayor and two councillors.
But it is more the process to which I am alluding. To their benefit, Mission was open, and permitted the public to freely express opinion. District staff willingly answered questions and explained many of the missing parts of information, which has been a major failing of selling the concept.
By dramatic contrast, Abbotsford, following a most autocratic and faulty communication process, did not permit dialogue with city personnel or council.
Both councils are recognized for their atrocious ability to communicate which often conveys an autocratic style and an arrogance that gives people the impression that council knows best and they will give you what they think you need.
Abbotsford and Mission deserve more enlightened mayors. Those who will be respectful to the electorate but also become more informed on topics and be sensitive to public needs. This must start now with the realization the public clearly do not want private involvement, in any manner whatsoever, with water.
In closing, many of the Abbotsford mayor’s remarks leave the public angry and in sheer disbelief anyone could be so arrogant and self-important, to try and ram through decisions that are against public interests and opinion but faulty and misguided, at best. The November election must bring new blood for the sake of respective municipalities.
George F. Evens