ARMCHAIR MAYOR SAYS — When I saw the video of Deputy Mayor Nelly Dever and councillors Tina Lange, Arjun Singh, and Ken Christian at the citizens protest march over the condition of Todd Road, it struck me as a little strange.
Dever even spoke at the event.
In today’s Armchair Mayor column in The Kamloops Daily News, I ask a few questions, and come up with a few answers, about where council activism begins and ends.
In the case of the Barnhartvale march along Todd Road, the councillors were, in effect, protesting against themselves, because they’re the ones who ultimately have the say on upgrading roads in the city. It wasn’t a case of supporting people in an “external” cause.
But Dever, Lange, and Donovan Cavers have often taken part in protest events, and Singh is a big advocate of public engagement. When is it “acceptable” for a councillor to take to the streets and rally for an issue-based cause?
While I was writing, it reminded me of the somewhat testy debate in council chambers recently about a pro-life street banner. Dever wanted it taken down and Cavers was insistent the City’s lawyers should examine the issue again to see if removing it could be made legal.
This is another angle to the issue. I didn’t have the space to get into it in the column for the paper, but it raises the question of why it’s OK with some councillors to propose a curb on freedom of expression for one group (via the banner) yet take advantage of their own right to protest at various marches and rallies.
Cavers and Lange, for example, not only attended but spoke at the anti-Ajax rally last Saturday.
While I support their right to engage in such activism, is it a double standard to insist a pro-life banner should be taken down, while councillors march on issues ranging from Ajax to gay pride to peace to the fight against AIDS and the need for upgrades to a road?