To the editor,
I'm not sure what Chris Benjamin expects from democracy in "Faux democracy" (June 5). If he thinks that a dozen homeowners along Chebucto Road ought to determine transportation policy for the regional centre, than I would beg to differ. There will always be parties to an issue who feel aggrieved or disenfranchised and will fault the system rather than see the bigger picture. Public policy is enhanced by stakeholder input. It should never be determined by it.
Politicians are tasked with overseeing the interests of the whole community, not bowing to special interest groups. Public servants respond to policy and an ever-expanding knowledge base that, generally speaking, puts people first. And for us, the lowly citizen, we have to find ways in which to influence policy and shape public opinion. Thankfully there are channels for that. Regrettably they all take time, energy and considerable effort. That is what democracy is about; making a commitment to get involved and going deep.
Bitching about the system does little good. Haligonians seem to dwell here, and The Coast revels in it. Negativism breeds indifference, and indifference is the most pressing threat to democracy. If you think things are bad now, just wait until most peoplestop caring.
By ---Scott Donovan