An open letter to Premier Selinger:
I would like to share some things I have learned and some of my thoughts on the municipal amalgamation issue.
I learned from a conversation with Brandon NDP MLA Drew Caldwell that his opinion is that there are not enough ratepayers to warrant giving them any say. This opinion seems to be shared by the NDP government. They seem to think that involving the ratepayers would just cloud the issue.
Is this not a strange stance for a democratically elected government to take?
Recently as I sat in a room with several hundred municipal officials and listened to Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux lecture about amalgamation, I was amazed that he actually bragged about bringing in legislation which will result in about 80,000 Manitoba citizens losing their right to have a say in the type of municipality they live in.
At the same time, all right of appeal will be removed so no municipal board hearing and again no say for the people. All power will be in the omniscient control of the NDP caucus. (Not a reassuring thought.)
Minister Lemieux then went on to talk of the happiness and pride he feels when he sees all the new Manitobans from around the world thriving in many different communities. I certainly agree it is great to see new people coming to our province, but I couldn’t help wondering how these people feel when they see that even in democratic Canada, governments use the same bullying techniques that they came here to get away from.
How do they feel when they learn that the kind of democracy you live in depends on how many people live in your municipality?
We need the support of every ratepayer in every municipality to fight this undemocratic action. Maybe you really don’t care about the amalgamation issue, but I am sure you care about living in a free society and not a dictatorship.
One thing Manitobans, old or new, would like to tell this government is that you can’t pretend to fight bullying while you are being a bully yourself. Learn to walk the walk and show respect for all.
Remember, democracy doesn’t start at 1,000.
JIM BROWN, deputy reeve
RM of Blanshard