Letter: Doesn't feel like democracy right now in Port Coquitlam

Editor:

The City of Port Coquitlam has been making a lot of headlines lately, but unfortunately not for the kind of characterization its residents would hope to see.

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From the mayor’s double triple-digit salary and union connection, to the unclear censuring of a councillor and now the mayor indicating the city “will not be instituting any such bans” when it comes to firearms, one has to wonder what direction the city is truly headed and who is actually making the decisions.

A political elected official, who also holds a position as a political action coordinator for a union screams conflict of interest. How can Mayor Brad West represent his constituents fairly, while also being paid $115,223 from a union with their own interests, one of them being the Trans Mountain pipeline? Is it any wonder the city’s reputation for climate action is so dismal?

Fast-forward a couple of weeks, and the City of Port Coquitlam issues a motion of censure on climate advocate Coun. Laura Dupont, without actually explaining what she allegedly breached. 

When Dupont was first elected to council in 2014, I was delighted that a fresh perspective, not to mention gender, was being added to represent the citizens of Port Coquitlam. Her hard work and commitment to her community paid off as she was re-elected in 2018, with the highest number of votes. But now her voters have been left in the dark, wondering why someone they elected has been silenced and maltreated by the rest of council. 

Since the censure, she has received an outpouring of support and praise from many constituents and politicians across the province, adding some positivity to a very negative situation.

And while I expect there will be more icing on the cake, I was shocked to read West’s comments that hehas no plan to adopt an optional handgun ban offered through any future legislation.

According to West, he does “not believe in restricting the legal use of firearms” and “will not be instituting any such bans.” Firstly, since when is this solely a mayor’s decision? Was this matter even discussed with the rest of council, not to mention the people who actually live here?

While I agree Mayor West is certainly entitled to his opinion, so are the rest of us.

As I always like to end on a positive note, I am delighted to see so many letters and a lot of engagement on social media about these issues. With increased citizen engagement and demands for accountability, we may be able to restore some democracy in Port Coquitlam.

Jane Thomsing, Coquitlam

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