So when is the law the law? Well, I guess if you are some members of Vernon city council, a law is only a law unless it affects them.
When that happens, it appears that those members of council think simply telling city administration to ignore the law is OK. Why? Well, because it affects their ability to get re-elected.
The excuses noted in the Oct. 14 Morning Star were laughable if they weren’t so pathetic. “It’s like Christmas for the bylaw guys,” says one. Well, it wouldn’t be if you didn’t put your signs up where the rest of us can’t.
“How much extra money will we spend on policing this?” says another. Well councillor, that depends on council now, doesn’t it? If you tell bylaw enforcement not to enforce the bylaws, then we can just lay them all off and save a bunch, right?
The best one of all, though, was “During the last election, signs were up everywhere.” So we have an admission from a councillor who thinks breaking the law in the past is justification for continuing to do that in the future.
So a question for all of those on current council and for all of those hoping to unseat them.
Isn’t one of the primary functions of council to pass bylaws for the good governance and safekeeping of our community? If so, then why the double standard where those who run for public office can break bylaws but the rest of us can’t?
Imagine the next time I get a parking ticket and me going to the front counter of city hall with my ticket and asking them to just take it back because I don’t feel like paying it.
The very friendly folks at the front counter would just laugh at me and I wouldn’t blame them.
Seriously, though, one of the most significant issues we have in Canadian politics these days is that people are becoming disengaged with the political process. This is because people who end up in political office often lose sight of why they are there.
They are there for public service, not for ego, headlines and special privileges. People are losing faith in the integrity of our political system because of this.
So, I remind all of those running in the upcoming election, integrity is measured by how you actually behave, not by how you want people to believe you behave.
That means no matter how innocuous you think it is, breaking any law, no matter how big or small, means your integrity comes into question. When you are privileged to sit around the council table, you simply can’t vote away your requirement to uphold the very laws you put into place.
This city has already been tarnished by the behaviour of a former member of council who chose to do things his own way.
We don’t need people who think they are special doing this job. We need those on council who actually represent us.
If our current councillors don’t get that, maybe we need to take the privilege of serving us away from them and vote in some who do.