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Mayor and Council should respect freedom of speech
To the Editor:
Mayor Jack Adelaar owes Melissa Harrison and the people of Bowen Island an apology for telling her to shut up while she was giving a presentation on the CRC docks at a recent Municipal council meeting. All of the councilors also need to publicly apologize for failing to admonish - as our representatives - such rude, disrespectful and grossly undemocratic behaviour. Given the prime importance of upholding and respecting open and public free speech in a democratic society, the impassive non-response of the council members at the meeting is frankly quite appalling.
Beyond the words that were spoken, and not spoken, your readers should take a look at the body language of this mayor and council as this disgraceful affair played itself out. Melissa Harrison’s presentation begins around the 13th minute of the video.
The words “shut up” reflect Adelaar’s dictatorial style of leadership from the moment he became mayor of Bowen Island. While he may see himself as our “sheriff” - as he indicated when he was elected - it is we, the people of this island, who are his bosses - a community founded on the solid bedrock of democracy. When the next election comes around, let us ensure that we elect representatives who can stand up for those democratic principles - not only when the moment calls for it, but at all times.