Dear Mayor and North Cowichan Councillors:
I was disgusted by the recent misdirected protest staged April 25 by beer-drinking councillors Tek Manhas and Bruce Findlay.
As reported in the April 27 Citizen newspaper, the pair sat in lawn chairs on York Road fronting Island Health’s controversial Overdose Prevention Site, an infamous area plagued by ongoing drug abuse and homelessness.
Apparently Manhas and Findlay broke liquor laws by openly drinking suds in public to oppose new federal drug laws launched Jan. 31. Those laws tragically allow legal-age B.C. residents to carry small amounts of toxic drugs (such as cocaine and fentanyl) for personal use.
Even if our councillors were sitting on private property, their childish event lent the appearance of flouting laws governing public drinking.
This is why our council must indeed strongly question and govern the appropriateness of councillors’ behaviour inside and outside of chambers. We expect and deserve exemplary behaviour from our elected council team.
Councillors must likewise check their behaviour, the messages they send, to whom and why.
In this case Manhas and Findlay can be accused of misdirected animosity as legal use of potentially deadly drugs is governed by Health Canada.
Perhaps the drinking duo should have staged its sip-in at Cowichan MP Alistair MacGregor’s Duncan office.
Better still, they should have voiced their opinions maturely and creatively in chambers to elicit a fulsome airing about this issue— perhaps toward drug-prohibiting bylaws as proposed recently by Campbell River’s council.
Instead, beer busking for attention on the sidewalk gave our council and community an embarrassing black eye.
Peter W. Rusland