Letter: Public apologies are in order

I have been watching for any open visible apologies to Julia or taxpayers by council, the media or the city, writes Grady Markland.

Government promotes the orderly conduct of the city’s business. People want government to perform in their interest, wisely spending their money. Openness and honesty earns the consent of the governed.

On issues as important as water (a basic necessity for life) in working with the ever growing number of very influential professional people running the city, major businesses and groups, federal and provincial governments, how the council acts matters. Disgruntled voters made some changes last election. There were issues. Even after the election.

However, the way we treat other people who are different, who we disagree with or don’t understand, also matters. They weed out flaws and bring challenging ideas and guard us from the greatest danger of all which is people not participating.

Though I usually disagree with them I realize how valuable men like Roy Ronaghan and Les Johnson our videographer have been just making issues known. I watched many of the live council telecasts (thanks Les) and saw for myself the attitudes that arose when a lone dissenting voice spoke (Julia Butler), daring against all odds to believe that her views were why she was elected by voters.

I saw some hurt (who wouldn’t be) yet a polite positive response when so many of her opinions were overruled and tossed aside with veiled disdain by her colleagues.

What they did next really takes the cake! Rather than allowing their votes to override hers and continuing functioning as elected, they just had to conspire to find a way to get rid of her. The way they went about it demonstrates the very core of what needs to change in the city. These kind of actions should not be tolerated.

People are elected for what they represent. I voted for a lady who has ties to agriculture because I felt agriculture is important here and needed a voice. Should she be taken to court every time she supports an agricultural issue? We all vote for those who best represent and will support our views.

To call that conflict of interest is ridiculous. Conflict of interest was established to deal with blatant self-interest and personal gain. The only real conflict was openly representing a differing opinion. I am outraged that some involved with the city conspired with the council and put their hand to do this.

Why vote for change if at a whim, others can muzzle or nullify that vote? Many spoke up, even Julia, urging the city to withdraw its senseless waste of taxpayer time and money. Now the Supreme Court has ruled Julia is not in conflict of interest and has ruled the city must pay all of Julia’s legal and court costs in addition to their own.

I have been watching for any open visible apologies to Julia or taxpayers by council, the media or the city. Their actions publicly discredited Julia. Get a clue, public apologies are in order.

– Grady Markland, Grand Forks

Editor’s note: To clarify, The Honourable Mr. Justice Greyell of the B.C. Supreme Court said, “In my view, Ms. Butler quite clearly had a direct conflict of interest when she participated in discussion about the [water meter] program before she divested herself of doing business as Eden [Yardcare] in early March 2015.” He concluded that she was not in conflict after taking a position of employment with another company.


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