LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Stewardship Society Responds

By Contributor
April 28th, 2009

Dear Editor,

The Rossland Telegraph (Apr 21st) and Trail Times (Apr 22nd) both have a letter from Jackie Drysdale alarmed at the creation of the Rossland Stewardship Society. Her premise is that Council is elected to govern the City, undisturbed by public input, at least not from any self-appointed citizens’ group.

Would you fly in a plane with an autopilot and no crew? Would you choose to live in a community where the local government did not inform you of their plans, decisions and actions while the press forbore comment for the three years between elections?

“Representative” democracy has many variants between the extremes of where every matter of consequence stands or falls on a popular vote and the “elected” government of where challenging a government decision can be perilous to your health. Here we operate on a system where a few are elected to assemble the facts and make decisions, subject to the ongoing approval of the citizens. Most decisions are good ones so no public input is warranted or useful, but every now and then something less perfect comes along which requires a ‘Hey, wait a minute!’ reset. Equally, the good decisions deserve recognition.

In Rossland, we have a representative democracy which directly answers its constituency once every three years, a practical compromise between governmental continuance and responsibility. Some councillors choose to stand and be counted at election time while others refuse the challenge of being held answerable. There are those who have listened to reasoned input in the interim and have no fear of this process while others have not and suffer the consequences.

Few but the ignorant or arrogant presume that the best ideas and decisions of a few are better than the collective wisdom of the many; thus the wise actively seek and accept the broadest spectrum of input whenever time and circumstance permit. “Input” is a tricky word. There is a spectrum from that which you dread from your mother-in-law to that you hope for from your friends. Considered input from a range of perspectives, well-informed of the issue at hand, is generally recognized as helpful.

The Rossland Stewardship Society was founded to provide a permanent forum for the collection, discussion and dissemination of ideas bearing on the well being of Rossland’s populace. Our focus is forward-looking and our intent collaborative with all agencies. Clearly this is best achieved by seeking, winnowing and promoting the ideas which seem best suited to our collective welfare from all people with an interest in our community. Is it not better to do so proactively than be caught unawares at the ‘eleventh hour’ and be forced, literally, to the streets to make concerns apparent to the decision makers in time?

No one can be ‘fully informed’ about anything in this information age–it would be presumptive to hope to be so–but we can actively research any matter of concern and tell others so they can make their own decisions.

The ‘Stewardship’ portion of the Society’s name was carefully chosen for its connotations of watchfulness, responsibility and willing assistance. If you find these goals of concern, we would like to discuss it with you. We, instead, hope you will find our aims consonant with your own and join us.


Bill Micklethwaite (for the Rossland Stewardship Society)


Categories: Op/Ed

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