A message from George Townsend to Wolfville Ratepayers

The importance of "protest" in a healthy democracy . . . and the lady on Maple Avenue!

One of the fundamental freedoms we have in a healthy democracy is the right of protest. It matters not whether ratepayer concerns are completely off base or on target, if they are expressed as a protest then they are offending someone. Freedom of expression is something we should never take for granted and its importance can never be overstated.

When the lady on Maple Avenue is concerned that her rights have been infringed, she has a right to be heard. Her concerns should be listened to with respect and answered accordingly. It's not the right or wrong of her concern at issue here. The real issue is how our elected officials deal with these concerns. It's the responsibility of elected officials to deal with protest reasonably. Confronting protest with abuse is unacceptable in a democratic society built on a foundation of free expression. Suppressing the protest is no better! We may not agree but we must respect those who have a different opinion than ourselves. To paraphrase Rudyard Kipling, we must trust ourselves when all men doubt us but make allowance for their doubting too! Not everyone is completely right in absolute terms.

Those who seek elected office must have thick skin, a sense of humour and enormous patience. It's not an easy task and is often thankless. This is why we must embrace term limits for those who seek elected office. There comes a time in the life of every elected official when the skin gets thin, the patience draws short and work becomes humourless. That's when it becomes time to pass the torch to a new generation with fresh ideas and a new broom!

That time has come in Wolfville. Please vote accordingly.

George Townsend townsend@ns.sympatico.ca