Chemainus – Much of the public conversation about candidates for local office focuses on their past and/or proposed policies and positions, as it should.
However, there is another, less analyzed aspect to local government, namely those times when mayor and councillors sit together and make decisions – the council meeting.
As a one-time councillor myself, member of numerous municipal committees and community groups, and regular attendee at North Cowichan council meetings for the past six years, I have some observations about council meetings I’d like to share with voters.
I am supporting Jon Lefebure for North Cowichan mayor because of leadership characteristics he uniquely among the mayoral candidates has demonstrated in council chambers. He knows and respects council procedures. He works courteously with his council colleagues, neither belittling or smirking at their statements, nor bullying them. Mayor Lefebure does not take advantage of his position to monopolize the discussion, nor does deliver long, repetitive dissertations. He demonstrates an understanding that despite policy differences, council members need to work together in a civil manner if they are to make North Cowichan a better place.
These characteristics and behaviours make the difference between a smoothly operating group and a contentious, inefficient one. Council meetings are important because of the decision making that occurs there and also because of the message they send to citizens: council can model the kind of cooperation the community needs or it can alienate citizens and foster complete disdain for government.
Experienced, respectful, democratic. Mayor Lefebure is clearly the kind of leader North Cowichan needs.