Editorial: Smile! You’re on camera

Web casting and technology in Sooke council chambers discussed

Okay, so council will start web casting their meetings using an American company to do so. While it is important for our municipal government to be up-to-date with technology, one does have to wonder if this is the best and only choice for Sooke. People resent sending money south.

With the grumbling everywhere of the huge salaries, costs, consultants’ fees,  etc. at the municipal level, one would think this decision would not have been made quickly. It is not crucial to get on stream by September. Transparency and openness are key and if this was in the works, we never heard about it prior to approval although it was included in a line item in the budget.

But, it should be noted that there are municipalities across the province and country that do broadcast their meetings and councillors do have iPads or lap tops, etc. In many communities Shaw Cable airs the meetings. In actuality Sooke is just a little behind the times. Technology is there and Sooke should use it, but not without it being budgeted and approved each year at budget time. When things are hidden or not up front people become suspicious.

What we won’t look forward to though is the likelihood of the grandstanding that may take place once the cameras are rolling. It has happened in other communities because councillors and mayors want to appear to be informed and in touch with their electorate and it is, at times, so obvious that this has become another photo op. It may make the meetings longer because everyone wants their say in front of the cameras and even more so at election time. Are we ready for this?