integrity and trust

During the Vidal project debates it was suggested that, unless I complied with the demands of some citizens, they could not trust I would uphold City bylaws. They seemed to imply that this was a test. Notwithstanding that the impact of the variance on neighbours was demonstrated to be negligible at most, they wanted me to deny the application simply because they asked me to. Well, I can’t do that. I see no integrity in that.

It was said that I am elected to represent the people and that I must do what I’m told by the people (specifically, the people who attend public hearings). But what if I don’t agree with some of the people? How could a councillor be trusted to make decisions of integrity if they simply did what they were told to do?

What would happen if a huge number of people told me to vote a certain way, but one person had an insight that caused me to believe that a different decision would be the better decision? Should I vote against my conscience? Should I intentionally vote in favour of what I believe is not a good decision because that is the direction of a majority of people?

I don’t believe windsock decisions are appropriate for most questions City Council must answer. I believe councillors should read the material provided, look for pertinent information, listen to the thoughts and ideas of citizens, share perspectives in Chambers… then think for themselves and vote as they truly believe in their hearts and minds is in the best interest of White Rock citizens.

I don’t dispute that there are times when the choices have equal consequence, when it is very appropriate to follow the direction of the majority of people who share their thoughts. But it is my opinion that those are relatively rare occurrences.

For citizens to hold trust in Council’s decisions, councillors should balance rational thought and emotional reaction, provide logical facts and heartfelt sentiment in their reasons, describe how that specific decision fits into their vision for the community, and demonstrate personal integrity and accountability by making and explaining their own decisions.

They should not simply parrot what they think the majority of people want them to say. That’s not leadership. That’s not integrity. That’s not accountability.

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