EDITORIAL: Public input includes people

With Enbridge hearings in Victoria shutting out residents, the government is not leaving us with the impression public interest is welcome.

The key to public hearings is obviously public input.

With the Enbridge hearings in Victoria shutting out residents interested in attending the proceedings and Victoria MLA Murray Rankin being refused entry, the government is not leaving us with the impression that public interest is welcome.

The process of registering to speak is tried and true. However, relegating the great unwashed to a hotel kilometres away from where the hearings are taking place, allowing the public only to view the proceedings in a video feed from fixed cameras is not open, transparent information gathering.

We all want the sessions to run smoothly without interruptions from noisy protesters. Ugly disruptions create an oppressive atmosphere, rather than one of courtesy and respect, which enables everyone to voice their opinion without feeling threatened.

However, posting uniformed police outside the hearing room and forcing the public to view the hearings from a distance of more than two kilometres only alienates the people who it is trying to engage.

Talks held across the country have been uneventful. The most threatening event so far has been a large community gathering which formed a welcoming committee of sorts for the panel at the Bella Bella hearings. That situation delayed the process by one day.

The Enbridge pipeline proposal is controversial. For some, registering their name in advance, standing in front of a panel of strangers, explaining their concerns or expressing their approval is comfortable and acceptable. For others, voicing their concerns in an old-fashioned, free-spirited way with placards and songs is the way they want to express themselves. And for some of us, being able to see and hear the presentations for ourselves is how we become involved.

Separating the people from the process is not the way to earn trust and make sure the public interest is served.

 

Just Posted

Mental health walk/run aims to outpace depression

Walk increased to 5k, run to 10k

Island cycling series boosts youth race schedule

New series creates opportunity for more youth competition

Bear sightings historically rare in Langford: City staff

51 bear complaints or sightings in last year

Colwood wins award for Sustainable Infrastructure Replacement Plan

Plan wins Award of Excellence in Government Finance

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Parents say Austrian climber missing in Banff National Park ‘lived his dream’

David Lama, Hansjorg Auer and American climber Jess Roskelley have been missing since Wednesday

Six months after legalization, high prices and supply issues boost illicit pot market

It has been six months since Canada became the first industrialized country to legalize recreational cannabis

Building a better learning environment for B.C. students

Minister’s message for Education Week, April 23-27

Seattle’s 4-20 ‘protestival’ enjoys tolerance, some support – and B.C. could do the same

Seattle’s Hempfest a large-scale occasions with vendors, prominent musical acts and thousands of attendees

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, multiple people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

Most Read