Big Issues Need Big, Open Debate

Former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz has said that it’s good to discuss and debate opposing views of an issue.  The debate about the proposed Laurier/Y (YMCA) recreation centre on the south side of Colborne St. in downtown Brantford is hampered, because of the effort to stifle those people opposed to the Laurier/Y.

The Laurier/Y agreement (re. public access) was approved at a “special meeting” of Brantford city councillors April 10, 2012.  Why wasn’t the agreement slated for open discussion at the regular council meeting on April 23?

On Feb. 7, 2012, city council approved in principle the $5.8 million contribution to the proposed Laurier/Y behind closed doors.  Why wasn’t the project slated for open discussion at the council meeting on Feb. 21?

We don’t even have to take more time and go into why comments were deleted from the articles entitled:  “City to pay $5.8 million for Y-Laurier project” (Feb. 7), “Boo-birds sing the wrong tune” (Feb. 8).

Important public issues, particularly transformative ones, need vigorous discussion and debate.  An outcome is better when it is melded from various opinions.  Is it, therefore, acceptable to say that those with a different opinion do not want progress?  Is it acceptable to dismiss them as negative nellies?

The majority of Brantford’s citizens want what is best for their city.  The commitment they have to their city is real.  That is what drives them to air their opinions.  Let’s make sure these opinions are heard and debated openly, not stifled.

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