News Views: They did it again

Rookie councillor picked on by several more experienced politicians who want to be heard, but not questioned.

Maple Ridge’s last council meeting before summer break on Tuesday ended with an ambush.

Couns. Cheryl Ashlie and Judy Dueck read from prepared statements at the end of the meeting, dedicated for reports from members, and addressed the issue of Coun. Corisa Bell and media coverage of her trouble with several items, most notably a request to suspend chief administrative officer Jim Rule and comments she made during a recent committee meeting that a district lawyer advised could be defamatory.

Others councillors also addressed the issue.

Coun. Bell said she was unprepared to respond.

Coun. Ashlie never mentioned Coun. Bell by name, but in wanting her opinion on record, clarified that all councillors are allowed to and do ask questions. She accused the media of marrying three separate issues into one and for being inaccurate. And she defended Mayor Ernie Daykin as a respectful leader.

But she missed the point, as did Coun. Dueck, who contradicted herself several times.

Dueck said the public has a right to its opinion, and that it’s okay to have differing ones. Yet, she thinks debate on municipal issues should only happen at the council table. She said debate should concern the issue, not the person.

She said no one on council wants to isolate people. She said council and staff need to stick together.

And if they don’t?

Clearly, Coun. Bell has strayed from the pack.

And for that, she feels she is under attack.

And that’s what happened again on Tuesday, as she was picked on by several more experienced politicians who want to be heard, but not questioned. It was another attempt to stifle debate, but it backfired.

If the media has reported something inaccurate, tell us what and we will correct it.

If Coun. Bell said something defamatory, sue her.

If you want to get back to council business, stop playing games.

And heed your own advice. Play nice.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News