Democracy, one person, one vote is out; now a small group of individuals, the Joint Working Group (JWG) of 13 will devise a strategic way to engage the populace to produce an outcome, desired by the JWG, rules to be made as they go [“City of Powell River name change engagement begins,” March 1].
Current survey participation requirements to be completed by March 25: no age limits, 0 to 80-plus; no living area restrictions, City of Powell River plus T’ishosum plus qathet Regional District plus others; no name required or fraud suppression; no clear Yes/No question for a referendum, rather, buried in questions with eight options which will allow the statistician increased latitude for interpretation.
BC Ministry of Community Affairs must approve the request to change the city’s name. Its three main requirements are: one, the name change is driven by the local community with the public engaged (currently driven by the Tla’amin Nation community, not the Powell River community; the JWG is made up of five members from the city, six from Tla’amin and two consultants on contract to Tla’amin); two, rationale for the request (creating personal biographies are difficult due to personal bias. The current biograph which vilifies Israel Powell clearly has erroneous interpretation, timing and functional responsibility, concerns); three, consultation with the indigenous community (since the local indigenous community is the driving force behind the process, I assume the indigenous consultation requirement is fulfilled).
I believe most people would agree that a referendum would be an appropriate, accurate, fair, fraud proof and democratic method. Then why all the smoke and mirrors? Surely the public engagement process could continue with a much better chance of amenable discourse knowing all would have the opportunity to voice their position with a vote.
So far, the process has been faceless and without answers, impossible to challenge misinformation.
The JWG can organize opportunities for public discussion and exchange, but they are not empowered to formulate outcomes. Insist on a referendum to determine a name change.
Paul McMahon, Invermere Court, Powell River.