Letter: Butler resigning, running in byelection a solution

Citizens have been talking about the wisdom of having Councillor Butler resign to be re-elected, writes Jan Westlund.

I’ve been following the challenges of council for some time now and confess that I dislike hearing our community’s difficulties aired on CBC.

Recently, local citizens have been talking about the wisdom of having Councillor Butler resign to be re-elected through a byelection process.

This seems like an elegant solution to a painfully-divisive problem that’s in danger of poisoning council long into the future.

Councillor Butler described herself in a radio interview this week as representing “the people,” presumably those who feel disenfranchised and ill treated and want a louder voice at City Hall.

However, we have five other equally concerned and able councillors, who also represent “the people” with an equally compelling mandate. They have found working relations on council untenable with Councillor Butler at the table.

An inexpensive, timely byelection process would achieve several ends at once:

• It would give an accurate measure of the support the councillor can draw on if she continues to champion controversial views.

• It would save the city from an expensive and lengthy legal process that our citizens can ill-afford. This choice would help Councillor Butler protect the interests of those she represents.

• It would also save Councillor Butler from financial pain if the legal challenge doesn’t favour her, resulting in job loss at a time when she will bear substantial court costs.

• Even if one or two others saw this byelection as an opportunity to run, it would narrow the field from the 16 candidates that voters had to wade through last time, offering a real opportunity for us all to hear the depth and breadth of Councillor Butler’s beliefs.

– Jan Westlund, Grand Forks