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General News · 24th June 2019
Bill Dougan
Why I am Against Anonymous Writings

There has for a long time been controversy around the writings done under anonymous in the Cortes Marketer . It seems that with the recent political turmoil Cortes Island finds itself in , this issue has renewed focus on this subject.

The Marketer has always been upfront about the reasoning for this , it is a private publication and I believe it has the right to print anonymous writings if it so chooses. How we , the readers of this publication, feel about this is important issue though is also relevant and we do have choices on how we react and deal with this topic

I firmly believe that the readers deserve to know who is speaking to them and the writers need to take responsibility for what they write. To write under the name " anonymous " takes away any accountability that the writer has .I have a fundamental problem with anyone writing about any ideas or sharing an opinion, who does not want it attached to their name . An anonymous writer can put out information that is false , in essence providing them with a licence to lie, deceive or accuse others of wrong doing with no way to question the accuser , a basic right in English law.

I feel there are times where a writer could justify being anonymous . In a case of exposing a truth that may cause the writer unfair or unjust retribution , such as most laws pertaining to whistle blowers . None of the writings , I have seen in the Marketer, rise to that threshold . Simply sharing ideas , opinions or to ridicule a certain point of view is not worthy of being anonymous.

In a recent editorial on this topic It states " Many people have opposing views and I wish we could voice them without fear of retaliation. However i know personally that if you have opposing views to others you are subject to retaliation, bullying and harassment " .

With freedom of speech comes the freedom to disagree , the freedom to voice your disagreements and if you so choose to, the freedom to let the holder of those opinions aware of your disagreement . Freedom of speech does not come in a bubble , it is not an absolute and it comes with responsibility.

Anything that crosses the line of legality though is truly unacceptable and I would personally support anyone who had shared an opinion and was subject to anything along those lines. To take it a step further i do not agree with bullying or aggressiveness in any form against someone for stating their point of view . Disagreeing with them though in itself is not bullying. It could be argued to post items anonymously, against a group of people or individuals, is in itself a form of bullying .

The article goes on to state that " Recently 14 people have signed a petition to make our regional director responsible to disclose her funds and all donations she received from her constituents ". The writer goes onto to state the people who have brought forth this action have been subject to libel and harassment . If this is the case, unless this harassment was done anonymously , then it is possible to raise those legal concerns with the proper authorities . This will not be possible if those actions were taken anonymously ironically .

What is harassment ? Well according to Canadian Law it is as follows

Harassment is a form of discrimination. It includes any unwanted physical or verbal behaviour that offends or humiliates you. Generally, harassment is a behaviour that persists over time. Serious one-time incidents can also sometimes be considered harassment.

Harassment occurs when someone makes unwelcome remarks or jokes about your race, religion, sex, age, disability or any other of the grounds of discrimination; threatens or intimidates you because of your race, religion, sex, age, disability or any other of the grounds of discrimination; makes unwelcome physical contact with you, such as touching, patting, or pinching.

Based on the Canadian Human Rights Code definition of harassment it could be concluded that constant ' anonymous" writings in the Marketer, themselves constitute harassment . Simply put I choose to be consistent with my definition of words whether they are politically leaning or not and harassment is simply put , harassment , none of it is acceptable. I do not though feel that respectfully holding someone accountable for something they wrote or said constitutes harassment.

In a final word, Respect is the only way forward, not enough of it is being shown to people of differing opinions and we need to start somewhere but continuing to print opinions anonymously is part of the problem the Marketer claims to be against and appalled by . I challenge all Cortes residents to respect those you disagree with , to be strong in your opinions and voice them freely with your names attached .
Please I beg you lets grow from this!
Comment by Christopher Alder on 25th June 2019
Anything written emotional charged rather than objectively, can bring about miscommunications. We need to be Mindful of our emotions and not act when emotionally charged up for whatever reasons, yes emotions can let us know things are not quite balanced but we must befriend our emotions and use our integrity and intelligence and calmness to provide our words with a community first and personal unchecked emotions second. I feel personally and very strongly if we canít or wonít sit down with another community member and objectively ask and answer without letting our emotions take over then I do feel we must look inside ourselves work on ourself at that point. I canít speak for others but my experiences have helped me to realize how I approach things how I check my emotions before I go running into with passion a subject matter has ultimately made my life more harmonious and when I donít check my emotions well things are harmonious at all!

In the end Iíve had more success in coming to middle ground with the people around me. Yes middle ground for some may seem like a loss but its truly amazing when we learn do understand our emotions and how they can be conflicting and confusing hence we must control them make friends with anger, humility, happiness...etc. In the current world we are told if we don't win we don't matter and this is just a false we must not pass on to the next generation. We have a real responsibility and a huge blessing of grace to live as we do here on this beautiful Island we call ďHomeĒ ask yourself when you post or speak up or share your passions for or against a subject matter to do so remembering you call this home and that maybe if you wouldnít or couldnít mindfully say it around your own dinner table with guests there your family there then why say it at all? Ask yourself if it is emotionally charged? and if it could be maybe ask yourself.. am I my best self to be stating this publicly or am I very emotionally passionate and maybe I should calm myself before taking action. Yes action may still need to be taken but calmness brings round ears to listen mouths to speak without yelling, calmness brings clarity to our words of passion.

Basically itís difficult for me to not want to reach out and say letís do this letís work it out lets get together put facts calmly on the table and sort out what emotions are holding us back as a community.

I wrote this post because I believe in this community! I believe we can grow together and be stronger than ever. I believe we can learn to agree we disagree but with facts, knowledge and mindfulness. I believe we can become better communicators. I believe this all because I was lost for most of my life and I was fortunate enough to find some help with my struggles and emotions and it changed my life forever. Iíve had to relearn how i do some things, getting real with myself and my emotions has been and continues to be the hardest yet most fulfilling practice and has added an incredible amount of grace to my life. Grace to accept things I cannot change, to accept iím not always the driver and being a passenger at times brings about a balance that gives me great reflection and insight and clarity. It has also taught me how to ask better questions not only to others but to myself (always trying my best to control my own ego) the healing of the issues we face as a community is needed but if we cant bring our best foot forward objectively! then are we helping ourselves or are we helping the community because I believe many people have great ideas for the community but if you cant voice them appropriately to the community are you actively seeking to be part of the community to which you aim to inflict positive change? Or are you stating your thoughts without actively seeking to be part of the community. Being part of a community is much much more than just objects and ownerships!!!! Its about eating together laughing together and sometimes even crying together! One Love
Courage of your Convictions
Comment by Paul Ryan on 24th June 2019
Then there is this. If you feel strongly enough about an issue, put your name to it! And bring on the harassers, dissenters, bulliers etc!
Own it or be quiet, I say!
Comment by Nicola on 24th June 2019
If you don't have the gonads to stand by what you publish, whatever you say does not have my respect.
another point: I heard of people boycotting Cortes Market because of the Marketer's policy of allowing un-named 'ads". I say, do so at your peril, this island would be HOOPED without Bertha! She has EVERY right, whether you like it or not!