History of questionable democracy in Central Saanich

Between Co-op and Vantreight, there's a sense that democracy isn't as it should be, one Central Saanich resident says

Re: Re-evaluate Co-op’s policy (Our View, Feb. 1)

The etymology of the word democracy comes from the Greek meaning “rule by the people.” It has been generally accepted to mean the rule of the majority. That said, interpretations of democracy are playing out in an interesting manner in a couple of Central Saanich arenas.

Peninsula Co-op’s own rules state member information can be distributed for contact purposes.

Members have agreed to this by signing their applications and the B.C. Supreme Court has ruled that this is so. Yet the Co-op’s board and general manager appear reluctant to let go of their control over the membership list. Why?

At the municipal level, the self-appointed minority Residents and Ratepayers of Central Saanich Society are taking our municipality to court over council’s Vantreight Farms decision.

Similarly, the B.C. Supreme Court and Court of Appeal have ruled in the municipality’s favour, as have the majority of voters through the results of the recent elections, yet the RROCSS is reluctant to accept the decisions. Why?

In any democracy, it’s important that all voices have the opportunity to be heard. What some can’t seem to accept is that being heard is not the same as getting the outcome one wants. The first is our right in a democratic society; the second is subject to the majority wanting the same thing.

To the Co-op board and general manager, and the RROCSS: You have a credibility issue. You’ve been heard and the majority has spoken. Any attempt to go further down lawyered-up paths looks like a struggle for power. And to the municipality: Consider using referenda. If an issue is significant and contentious, put it directly to the people. Not only is it the democratic way, it would be an end-run around special interest groups.

Dolores Bell

Central Saanich