I’m not quite sure what the North Grenville Council is trying to accomplish with its ongoing spat with this newspaper. I would have thought that once you have been caught out using alternative facts, then the best thing that you can hope for is that the problem will go away if you ignore it. Rather than do this, our Council decided to circle the wagons, though, to his credit, one member of council, Jim Bertram, did not join in.
The reason for all this wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth is a piece of written evidence that there were some local business people interested in putting in a bid for the Agricultural College, a fact that our Mayor chose to deny.
Although none of us know much about what is really going on, due to a gag order placed by the Provincial government, I would have thought that having an interest shown in this project from the business community would have been seen as an opportunity for Council to partner with them. Why they wouldn’t do this, and instead deny the existence of this bid, doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
Instead, what we have is this mud-slinging contest. While I sometimes don’t necessarily agree that the level of some of the rhetoric was necessary in this paper’s editorial, I do understand the level of frustration with a Council who seem a bit thin-skinned. It is the duty of the free press to question any decisions made by our elected representatives that they think are wrong, or that could have been handled better.
When you are in public office, you are, and should be, held to a higher standard. We live in a democracy, which means that if we don’t like something our elected representatives do, we have a right to question it. When our elected representatives put this much energy in defending a position, rather than explaining it, then we, the people, become suspicious as to motives. We can be forgiven for wondering what sort of nefarious things they might be doing if they won’t explain themselves.
This Council is acting something like an Old Boys Club, (a charge that I have heard levelled by some business interests around town), where we, the great unwashed electorate, have no right to question what they do. After all, they know best. Their grasp on the meaning of democracy seems somewhat tenuous.
I should clarify that I do not include Jim Bertram in this analysis. I have met with Jim on several occasions, and have found him to be a good example of what this Council says that it is all about, open and inclusive, attributes that this Council still seems to be trying to come to grips with exactly what this means.
On a personal note, I would like to wish Jim all the best in his struggle with the two forms of cancer that he is currently battling. I hope to see him back in his Council seat in the not too distant future.