Letter - How else to reach the mayor?

The Regional

August 17, 2011

T. David Marshall questions the ethics of holding a protest in front of the Mayor's house. He's probably not alone. Prior to 06 I'd never attended a protest of any sort. I was of the opinion that "social activists" were in need of paid employment. That opinion has been challenged over the past five years. When all else fails, a protest is worth a try.

Why the street in front of the mayor's house? So that he'll notice! Phone calls and e-mails can be ignored. A protest outside his office would be possible, but some of us would be forced to choose between taking time off work and protesting outside an empty building. A protest at the "scene of the crime" was also held, and these have occurred numerous times over the past five years. These put the focus on Six Nations activists where it doesn't belong. The main culprits in this odyssey are public servants. (an ill-fitting term in some cases)

A protest at Queens Park is another option that's been tried. It requires a chunk of time, a load of fossil fuel and the aforementioned choice between missed work and empty buildings. It also suggests that the province is holding all the cards. Council is fond of using a Mother/Daughter analogy for the relationship between the province and county. (If any of the council members had a rebellious sister, it's obvious that they didn't admire her.)

Council's options may be limited but they exist. Sadly, rather than search for options they tend to settle for excuses. The previous council (most of which was re-elected) was guilty of gross negligence. The bylaw violations committed on provincially owned land in Haldimand would fill a filing cabinet. Yet not one notice was served!

Back to the analogy: The mother is badly neglecting the daughter, whose silence suggests that she's helpless. In fact, the daughter has rights but it's her responsibility to exercise them. She finds it easier to simply blame the mother, who in turn blames the father. (The Feds). The public, with a few exceptions is not being blamed, but neither is it being served. It's no surprise that the few being criticized are the few that exercise their rights.

What Mr. Marshall fails to address is the following: a discussion about ethics requires a review of both sides. For example, is it okay to lie - ethics says no, but what if it is Nazis asking you where Jews are? The context determines the ethics. Mr. Marshall doesn't address the issue of whether council acted with ethics towards the residents by refusing to address the lawlessness. As such, was a protest directly at the Mayor's home ethical? I believe the answer is yes.

Rather than lowering the bar for us (anarchy, anyone?) we're asking that the bar be raised for them. Different rules for different races isn't working, and it won't. In many cases it's illegal, and in all cases its unethical.

Doug Fleming

Caledonia