Safe Surrey Coalition’s election campaign literature in 2018 stated that “it’s important to have many different perspectives and opinions on council” as “this will result in better decisions for the City of Surrey.”
Unfortunately, eight months into this council’s watch and the same clearly does not apply to all delegations seeking to get their point across to the politicians.
Just ask Ivan Scott, a Surrey resident who has collected roughly 8,000 signatures from people who want to keep the RCMP in Surrey, as opposed to seeing it replaced by a made-in-Surrey police force.
The city tried to bar his efforts to gather petition signatures at the Canada Day event in Cloverdale. More recently, it denied his request to appear before council as a delegation on July 8.
Members of council are, of course, expected to harbour their own opinions. But it is also their duty to listen to what all constituents have to say and to not deny their voice, like what this council has done to Scott.
Councillor Laurie Guerra’s reference to those, whom she considers to fall short in respectfully addressing council, as “prickly people” is beyond the pale. That this comment came from the same council member who is chairing the city’s task force on public engagement is concerning, to say the least.
To those who prefer to stymie the free marketplace of ideas rather than be open to entertaining the potential for reasoned argument and sound logic are simply not performing the duty they were elected to perform.
A healthy democracy cannot be fettered by the shunning of viewpoints however “prickly” they might be to those in seats of power.
They call it public service for a reason. To be an elected official is to be a servant.
Not a censor.