Councillors hiding in the weeds

Four years ago, voters in North Cowichan and Duncan elected two councils, each with six councillors and a mayor.

Folks make their choices based on various criteria, but it would be fair to assume that some people were responding to the candidates’ promises to “be your voice on council” or “be an advocate” for the overtaxed, underemployed or otherwise disenchanted. Such rhetoric is a staple of elections.

Dozens of courageous men and women throw their tuques into the ring and they should be praised for their community service. It’s not always easy to step up and be accountable in such a prominent and public setting.

Now, with one of the most important votes to face citizens of the Cowichan Valley in decades looming, most of these councillors and both mayors are taking an ignoble position on the amalgamation question.

As part of our In-Depth feature in last Friday’s Citizen, we asked all 12 councillors and the two mayors what their position is on the proposed amalgamation of Duncan and North Cowichan.

To their credit, four Duncan councillors stated their positions. Roger Bruce, a long-time proponent of amalgamation expressed his support for the concept. So did John Horgan. Tom Duncan said he was opposed and Sharon Jackson was very candid and helpful in expressing her opposition in an accompanying article.

Bruce has been an unabashed champion of amalgamation for many years. He’s done his homework, presents his argument in a cogent and respectful fashion and is enduring the cold shoulder he’s getting in the council chambers and elsewhere with class. Horgan and Duncan are keeping a lower profile but at least they’re unafraid to take a position.

So, what’s with the rest of you? Most have privately tipped their hand, so why not put your position on the record. “Opinion reserved” just doesn’t cut it.

You were elected based on your opinions and promise to take a stand on important issues. The voters of New Duncan, Cowidunc or SomewherebetweenLadsymithandCobbleHill deserve better.

It’s unacceptable that eight councillors – all of the North Cowichan councillors, including the almost-always outspoken Joyce Behnsen – and mayors Jon Lefebure and Phil Kent chose to duck the question.

Voters might want to remember this lack of moxie in mind when they go to the polls in the fall, whether it’s to elect one council or two.

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