News Views: A point of order

Maybe some of Maple Ridge’s more seasoned politicians have forgotten how to swim against the tide.

Much is being made of the difficulty first-term councillor Corisa Bell is having getting her points across in municipal government.

Some of her Maple Ridge counterparts and district staff have taken exception to her questions about municipal spending, development outside the urban boundary, and pay parking at Ridge Meadows Hospital, to name a few.

A video of a recent committee meeting, during which she questioned the municipal budget, was removed from the district website and reviewed by lawyers for defamatory comments.

Surely Coun. Bell has much to learn about municipal politics, but she is entitled to ask questions and to have opinions about such matters.

She was, after all, elected to council. And she was largely for her involvement in local anti-HST and MLA-recall campaigns, during which she took a public and lead role.

So it stands to reason that those who supported her in the municipal election are encouraged by her outspoken approach, that they want more accountability and transparency at the district level.

Decorum and respect must be minded, and when discussions stray, it is a leader’s role to keep order. Not to whip someone into shape. Nor to sit idle while another member of council disrespects an entire neighbourhood, making unsupported claims.

If Coun. Bell has misspoken, if she has been out of line, it is Mayor Ernie Daykin’s responsibility to counsel her in the right direction. Not to change her opinion, but to help her get it across in an acceptable manner. Put an arm around her shoulder, not allow her to be put on an island.

Maybe some of Maple Ridge’s more seasoned politicians have forgotten how to swim against the tide.

Really, do we need another multi-million-dollar fire hall right now?

Coun. Bell’s recent actions are the epitome of democracy. A healthy one allows questions, sparks debate and permits criticism. But that takes leadership, which Maple Ridge council is lacking.

 

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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