EDITORIAL: Opinions, facts and truths at City Hall

We say: Mayor’s edict is not a debate on freedom of expression.

Mayor Maja Tait has had enough.

She says the District of Sooke  will take disciplinary action, “or any other appropriate action as it is required” under law against those looking to defame, or otherwise harass, a councillor or district official.

We just wonder what took so long.

For months, no, make that years, local politicians and municipal staff have been harassed, threatened and libeled by a select few who think they know better.

And while some have jumped on the bandwagon and say the mayor’s edict is a slap against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (read: freedom of speech), it is no such thing.

Every politician on council is willing to listen to debate, consider new facts and opinion – even if it goes against what they believe.

What they shouldn’t have to put up with is libelous statement, lies, harassment, even threats.

And this is occurring on a daily basis on some social media sites, council chambers and at City Hall.

With freedom of expression comes some responsibility. The most obvious is you tell the truth and if you don’t, there are court remedies for that.

The other, and this shouldn’t be understated, is that you treat people with respect, no matter if you disagree with them.

Council must take some responsibly for this downward spiral into opinionated lawlessness too. It has limited public say on issues at council meetings, and has even broken its own policy on hosting town hall meetings twice a year.

A month ago council was forced into hosting a town hall meeting, only because taxpayers are not given enough time to ask questions and pursue answers at council meetings. The mayor apologized for the oversight.

It is still no reason to harass and libel politicians and municipal staff and then hide behind false names and call it freedom of expression.

The lessons here might be getting back to civility and end the venemous attacks.