Re: “Surrey LRT open houses planned,” the Now-Leader online.
The last time I wrote to an editor, I was in Grade 2 and my cause du jour was the evils of Garbage Pail Kids.
It’s been a while. It’s not that I don’t care. I care deeply. It’s just that by the time I’ve decided what to say on an issue, someone smarter than I am has already expressed my opinion much more eloquently than I would have.
The same thing has happened with this Surrey LRT issue. Every one of my arguments has been made. That is what disturbs me. It feels like our democratic system is failing.
For the record, I oppose the Surrey LRT. If the choice is between LRT and nothing, I believe we are better off with nothing, even if we must swallow whatever’s already been spent. The cost-benefit analysis does not support going forward with this project.
If you desperately need to spend billions of our tax dollars, stick it into education, health care or anywhere else that’s thirsty for investment. Please don’t waste our money on stupid things.
I have yet to find a counterargument that even nudges me away from my opinion. Every survey result I’ve found favours my position. Yet, somehow this project keeps creeping forward.
I recently sent an email to every MLA and MP from Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley – 17 people in total. I provided a link to one of those eloquent articles I mentioned, brimming with lovely facts to support its opinions. I pointed out that the Surrey municipal government enjoys a 100 per cent majority. I was careful not to ask them to stop the project or withhold funding. I simply asked to be included in the decision making process through a referendum.
In other words, for democracy to be enforced.
Most ignored me. Some told me I wasn’t one of their constituents and politely told me to bugger off. The rests told me they don’t get involved in local decisions.
So there you have it. With the federal and provincial governments washing their hand of any responsibility, the fate of $1.65 billion in federal, provincial and municipal tax dollars and the future vitality of the region rests in the hands of a mayor who won’t be sticking around past the next election to take responsibility for her decisions and a handful of councillors operating without an opposing voice.
That’s not how important decisions should be made.
A carefully worded referendum would ensure all sides of this issue have been heard and that the will of the people is being respected.
It’s not too late.
John Thorogood, Surrey