Feature Letter: Squeaky wheel comment offended

Response to a coluumn on how squeaky wheels get the grease

RE: “Squeaky Wheels do get the grease” Editorial February 4, 2015

 

On behalf of the Sooke Chapter of the Dogwood Initiative, I’m compelled to respond to your above-mentioned editorial in order to clear up some misperceptions.

The observations about the position of Councillor Kerrie Reay were well taken. It is indeed a sad commentary on her lack of respect for the knowledge of Sooke voters who voted 70 per cent in favour of opposing increased tanker traffic that she should, while in Council, call into question the plebiscite result because “the other side was not heard”.  By such a statement, she derides and denigrates the intelligence of the voters of Sooke whom she implies may somehow have been persuaded to change their vote if they had the “true” facts.

In reality, those who voted in favour of opposing more tankers might be well-informed enough to have heeded last fall’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientific report, which states quite clearly the anthropogenic causes of climate change and warns us about what is happening. Savvy Sooke voters might also pay attention to the data just put out by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and by NASA, confirming the trend well apparent to anyone watching the figures mount. 2014 was the hottest year yet measured and nine out of 10 years in the last decade were the hottest recorded. Finally, the well-informed voters of Sooke who live, work and recreate near or on our ocean know only too well the economic and ecological devastation that will be wrought right here when a major oil spill occurs in the Strait.

We were very surprised to read that the editorial board thought we “spent a lot of money on that campaign… and obviously backers with money”.  In all honesty, the Sooke Chapter of the Dogwood Initiative and local volunteers combined spent less than $2,000 total on the “yes” campaign. This is equivalent to the cost of about half a millisecond of Kinder Morgan’s TV advertising deluge. In fact, the Dogwood Initiative registered as a third party advertiser in the municipal elections and will declare all spending to Elections BC, unlike Kinder Morgan who got away with spending untold sums of money on what was clearly a defining election issue.

While oddly flattering, to imply that we even have a tiny fraction of the resources that Kinder Morgan and their corporate backers have is simply quite far from the truth. All that was achieved by those hard-working residents was the result of grass roots democracy right here in Sooke. Dozens of local volunteers donated their time free and contributed some of their own money to raise that $2,000.

Finally I would like to address your last a paragraph. Why is a democratic movement that voted 70 per cent against increased oil tanker traffic past their homes in a legal referendum characterized as a “squeaky wheel”? A second referendum held at the same election which was voted on by the same voting population provides a mandate for council to spend money, and so it has a much more direct and immediate impact. Labeling of one referendum result and not the other appears to be an editorial double standard.

Fortunately our mayor and most councillors respect and understand the democratic process and will make their decisions in accordance with the wishes of the voters and the mandate they were given by those, yes, well-informed voters.

Dr. Roland Alcock,

Sooke Chapter,

Dogwood Initiative