It’s been quite a year, both personally and politically. The best of times, the worst of times, to paraphrase Dickens.
Looking back on 2103, it was a busy, eventful, successful, and yet often challenging year. I accomplished many things on different levels – personal and professional – and, I believe, overcame some of the challenges I faced.
A lot happened locally, too, much of which development I take pride in having been a party to. Collingwood Council has been very productive, pro-active and progressive this term; more so than any council I’ve ever participated in or reported on when in the media. It’s also been a generally cohesive, well-behaved and respectful group that has worked together for common goals and the greater good.
Most of us, anyway. Some strong bonds of friendship and cooperation have formed this term among several of us. Friendships born from mutual respect and trust.
We don’t always agree, we don’t always vote the same way, but we respect one another’s views. We discuss options, compromise and solutions without rancour or anger. We communicate, we share ideas, we argue in a friendly manner, and we are open and accepting. That’s what good government is all about.
Of course, there was also the bad: the unfounded allegations, gossip, rumour and even outright lies about council that emerged this spring. Some people only see the mote in another’s eye, not the beam in their own.
The incessant (and continuing) ad hominem attacks from local bloggers, political opponents, and, sadly a former, once-respected and admired friend, hurt and disappointed me personally, but the rest hurt the whole community.
Our community’s once-bright reputation, our image and our honour were indelibly tarnished by unjustified allegations and accusations. Every resident of Collingwood; every parent, every child, every senior was hurt by the actions of a few angry people in 2013.
How did it benefit anyone? Cui bono? as a lawyer might ask. Certainly not the town, nor its residents. How did it make our community a better, more livable, more progressive place? How did it make our future politics better? Who will want to run for council and risk ridicule and scorn, to expose him- or herself and family to such public flagellation, just for the entertainment of those who conduct the whipping?
What happened to our Canadian sense of justice and fairness? Of not judging others without proof?
Gord Hume wrote in 2011:
“Explosive internet columns, blogs, and opinion pieces that do not seem to be overly-burdened with concerns about facts or accuracy are now being added to the traditional media mix, and have further aroused this toxic brew.”
Gordon Hume: Take Back Our Cities, Municipal World