Welcome to Glasstown

As we take time for family and the Holidays, we know we are under the shadow of something that could permanently change our town.

I hope this will not come to pass, and I think we need to consider the root cause of this threat. It’s not a mayor with political aspirations, and it’s not a weak and easily bullied council. It’s not even a predatory and reckless provincial government who will sell anything to be open for business.

No. The real cause, the root cause of the whole thing, is the lack of a local news infrastructure. No one saw this coming. No one understood the issues. No one was prepared.

How else could there be two years of negotiations on an environmentally dirty deal while Council watched our youth organize and ultimately succeed in their demand for a municipal declaration of climate emergency? Only when people are able to avoid uncomfortable questions can such a thing happen.

This is not new. We saw it when the RNG treatment plant was approved, despite the protests of hundreds of angry citizens, many of whom, I might add, were treated very poorly by the City. Here’s how it works:

Keep them in the dark.
Surprise them.
Tell them it’s a “done deal.”
Shame them for not acting earlier.

Fair and functioning municipal government requires an informed citizenry. One local newspaper, owned by an American media conglomerate and with a skeleton staff stretched to cover a wide variety of issues, cannot provide this.

Democracy really begins here at the local level. Local passivity fuels provincial rapacity, and the double-dealing works its way up to the top. We need to be vigilant, proactive, and we need to be informed.

But for now, it’s the holidays, and I hope everyone has a peaceful and restful time. I hope everyone is near someone they love. Let’s forget about it for just a little while. In New Year, let’s work to find out everything we can about this “done deal,” and make sure that our information is correct and well resourced. Then, let’s share what we know as widely as we can, because it looks like we’re going to have to be our own news infrastructure.

0 comments

  1. So well stated..”Keep them in the dark.
    Surprise them.
    Tell them it’s a “done deal.”
    Shame them for not acting earlier.” …they thought we would not be able to gather and collect and get out act together..I spoke to a former Deputy Mayor who now lives overseas…when I told him of the political action being taken by the citizens..he was stunned…and when I spoke of how the Mayor had managed this and council..he was at a loss for words…we must and we will fight on…

  2. Well said. I agree. The failure with our daily newspapers is on all of us. So sad and it should never have been allowed to happen.

    1. It’s not “a failure with our daily newspapers” in a town where there is only one newspaper and that one dedicated to covering the news instead of keeping citizens informed. I keep thinking that in the days of the late and much missed Stratford Gazette there would have been some warning of this. With its demise, through a deal engineered through Postmedia and Torstar three years ago, we now have no community information dissemination of an insightful nature. Can this be changed? Facebook and other social media cannot fill this gap due to their exclusive and for many dangerous associations.

      1. I have to agree, Julia, but let’s not forget there were journalists from the Beacon who did the best job they could under the circumstances. In this post I tried hard not to make it sound as if I was criticizing the reporters. Hope that came through.

      2. When I use the term “failure” I am thinking of a bigger picture and that was the lack of outrage and outcry when those small papers were sold to the giants. No good could have come from any a deal engineered through Postmedia and Torstar and our governments should have been far more watchful of local papers and information. I think everyone dropped the ball.
        We are now sadly seeing the result of those losses with the lack of transparency for citizens.

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