General News · 2nd March 2019
It was brought to my attention today that an objection had been raised in Friday's Marketer regarding the "Open Letter to Cortes Island" which appeared in our mailboxes in February. The gist of the objection was that people who are not qualified voters have no right to express opinions about local politics.
As a signatory to the original open letter - and as a not-yet-qualified voter - I would like to respond with a few key points.
1) the open letter was not a petition to any government agency. It was written by Cortes Islanders and addressed to Cortes Islanders. It was shared recently with a government agency, weeks after its initial presentation to the community; but it was shared only as evidence of public sentiment, not as a formal appeal or electoral document.
2) qualifications for signing the open letter were clearly stated from the beginning. Signatories were required to be one or more of: (A) a Cortes Island property owner, (B) a most-of-the-time (or most-of-your-life) resident. This requirement would rule out
"visitors" unless they are property owners.
3) the reasoning behind this requirement was to identify stakeholders with a serious investment, whether financial or social, in our community. If any signatories did not meet the stated requirement, I feel sure it can only have been a very tiny percentage. Most signers were personally known to, and vouched for, by other signers. Effort was made to validate signatures.
4) therefore, I do challenge critics to name specific signers whom they suspect of being "visitors" - so that those signers can then make their case for being Cortes Island stakeholders. I for example, not yet having completed my Canadian citizenship application process, am not allowed to vote; nevertheless, after seven and a half years here as a full-time resident and property owner, I do consider myself a committed Cortes Islander - certainly a stakeholder - and certainly not a "visitor."
5) the Marketer op/ed ends with an admonition to "STFU" (a popular acronym which stands for "shut the f**k up"). This is not civil or neighbourly discourse. Ironically, it illustrates and underscores the point being made by the original open letter signatories: that our local political process seems to be suffering from a decline in both civility and democratic values.
Yours for a kinder and more democratic Cortes...
Comment by Norleen Lillico on 17th March 2019
I appreciate your clarity and civility, as well as your tenacity of stance with this ludicrous satire.
Comment by Susan john on 9th March 2019
Yes to more civility!
Comment by Charles on 7th March 2019
Well said, De. Thank you for the thoughtful, rational leadership you have shown in these important issues. I am grateful to you for the calm, respectful tone of your presentations. Your approach to discourse and dialogue inspires me, and gives me hope for meaningful resolution of conflict here on this beautiful island.
Comment by Elizabeth Anderson on 3rd March 2019
Thank you De for your thoughtful response to those trying to derail our community spirit. Rather than just be cross and depressed about it you manage to express so many of our concerns and feelings in a respectful and concise manner. I know that you rather be doing something more joyful but your continued effort is certainly appreciated.