The editor of the Outlook doesn’t understand the democratic process. He has been trying to tell us in two consecutive editorials on Oct. 19 and Oct. 26 that we, the people of Canmore, and the democratically elected council of this town, don’t understand how government works.
But I want him to remember that we live in a democracy – at least I think we do – and democracy didn’t end in Eighteen-whatever with the establishment of the British North American Act. Democracy is a process, not a fixed point in history.
We don't declare ourselves a democracy and then call it done. The thing about democracy is that if you want to keep it, you have to participate in it otherwise you lose it. It’s happening all over the world and it’s happening right here in Canmore.
This Outlook printed a picture of me standing in front of the Civic Centre on Oct. 24 with a sign that said: “Stop TSMV, Stand up for Democracy”.
Several people came up to me and asked me why I was doing this when the matter was closed and there was nothing to be done now – the TSMV development would go ahead.
It’s hard to live with uncertainty. No one likes it. But uncertainty is all we can really be sure of. The editor of the Outlook, and I dare say the mayor of this town want us to embrace the certainty of this new era and “move on” as they say.
But certainty is a constriction. Certainty is the straight jacket of compliance. The truth is, we can never be certain of anything unless we lie down and let the bulldozers roll over us and then we're dead.
Several hundred people showed up two years ago at the public hearings and voiced sound reasons for condemning the Three Sisters Village and Smith Creek area structure plans. This was expressed by an overwhelming majority of speakers. The Town council of that time did their duty, properly represented their constituents, and voted unanimously to deny TSMV permission to proceed.
Our town was right to make this determination in light of world events and increasingly critical environmental concerns. That’s democracy. But the province overturned that determination via an appointed tribunal that based its reversal on loopholes in the democratic process.
Sometimes laws are wrong, and when they are, they need to be confronted. Democracy is not about compliance with unjust legal procedures. Democracy is about making yourself heard despite whatever is imposed to inhibit it. What is democracy if it does not speak out against its own dismissal?