Where should their loyalty lie?

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After over a year of debates and
discussions, the 18 Pontiac mayors decided to move forward with the commercial
zoning of zone 501 of the TNO during the Council of Mayors (CoM) meeting at the MRC, November 25.

After over a year of debates and
discussions, the 18 Pontiac mayors decided to move forward with the commercial
zoning of zone 501 of the TNO during the Council of Mayors (CoM) meeting at the MRC, November 25.
It was close, with eight mayors voting against the zoning and ten voting for it. At least four mayors said they voted against the zoning since the overwhelming majority of the residents in their respective
municipalities disapproved of the zoning change. However, some of those at the table did not agree with this approach, believing that the mayors sit at the CoM essentially as
councillors of the MRC Pontiac and are supposed to make decisions based on “what’s best” for the entire MRC, not based on what the people in their individual municipalities want.
Mayors are elected to represent the
people in their ‘ridings’, meaning they are expected to make decisions and take action based on the needs and desires of those they were elected to represent – simply
put, they are meant to be that area’s
spokesperson.
These spokespeople then join together every month to make decisions that impact the entire MRC Pontiac. When they sit at the CoM table, is each mayor supposed
to abandon their electorate’s desires? Wouldn’t they be defying democracy if they were to make decisions in name of their own subjective idea of “what’s best”?
By bringing the views of their
municipalities with them, and voting accordingly, each mayor is ensuring the voices of the people that live, breath, and pay taxes in each corner of the MRC Pontiac are being heard and that final
decisions reflect what the majority of MRC Pontiac residents want. Don’t taxpayers deserve input into what happens in their region? There’s no need to infantilize –
taxpayers are all adults and are also capable of speculating about ‘what’s best’ for our region. Imagine a prospective mayor
running a campaign with the slogan “I’ll decide what’s best for you!” – there’s an election outcome we could all reliably
predict!
It is true that sometimes decisions are made despite the disapproval of many, including those people who are supposed to benefit! We just got hit in the face with
a powerful example of this when the
provincial government made significant cuts to health care in order to reach “deficit zero”. That decision is supposed to
eliminate the burden of excessive deficits and free up budget funds in the future. Instances like this do happen, but it
shouldn’t be regarded as a management table’s mainstream practice or policy.
It doesn’t have to be all one thing or its opposite. The mayors can debate with two considerations in mind, certainly. A decision based on two legs will stand better than
“a dictatorship of the majority”. Let
democracy breathe freely at our MRC!
Allyson Beauregard, Editor