Politicians worry more about gamesmanship than governance

North Cowichan – In recent articles in the local papers a North Cowichan councillor stated, “Brace yourself. The howls of protest are likely to start again” and on his personal blog titled a section “drawing a line in the swamp”.

This same councillor wrote a letter to the editor titled “Expanded boundaries does not mean development” in which he suggests that the Chair of the Somenos Marsh Wildlife Society is “disingenuous” and “less unbiased”.

Both articles are great examples of political gaming or drama, i.e., the need to win every issue. I too admit I have a distinct perspective, in fact there are at least three competing perspectives I represent; as a taxpayer, as a retired public servant and as a member of the Marsh Society.

The mention of a swamp is interesting as there are two meanings for this word; the first is a geographical ecosystem and as this is only used once to describe the marsh not the meaning I took from the blog. The second meaning is “a situation or place fraught with difficulties and imponderables: a financial swamp”. As a taxpayer and retired public servant I took the use to mean this application of the word.

Using my marsh perspective; I have heard there is a petition now underway to support greater land use on the land north of Beverly Street and recognize the dike as a legitimate boundary. This suggests a bias to development and a bias consistent with some on council but not with community members who have shared their perspective with the University Village planners.

Land on the south side of the dike has large skunk cabbages, horsetails and bulrushes growing even in this time of low precipitation. They are getting moisture from the land they are on. Additionally there is standing water at the York Road pump station. Dry would indicate to me these plants would not thrive and there would be no water with the lack of rain we have seen this year.

We elect people not to play the game of politics but to conduct the business of governance. The role of the public servant is to provide truth and options (yes plural) to any debate to allow for an unbiased and sustainable solution. Our community has seen distinct perspectives at community events and through the paper on development on the marsh and where the urban containment boundary should remain.

In the game of politics one must incite conflict as part of the game to be able to give more credence to your point of view and make others look like the bad guys. Words such as “brace yourself”, “howls of protest” and “drawing a line” are typical “game pieces”.

Taxes and environmental issues are two critical debates within our communities. Let us this fall judge those we elect on their effectiveness of conducting the business of governance, which includes listen to all perspectives (biases), and not on how well they play the game of politics. I encourage all people to continue to read local papers and see the various perspectives brought forth and most importantly have your voice heard in the fall election by electing people who will effectively conduct the business of governance.

Phil Jennings

North Cowichan

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