The Wade MacLauchlan government has sidestepped tradition and made use of the summer to further its political agenda.
Its expedited approval of Aqua Bounty’s expansion to Rollo Bay, its choice of appointments for the health board and liquor control board, and the Cornwall by-pass announcement illustrate this get-er-done doctrine. All this is easy to do at this time of year, unhampered by a sitting legislature, with a distracted opposition and a disinterested press corps.
Contrary to election promises of public engagement and transparency, public input was not genuinely sought after or was dismissed out of hand (i.e. Health Minister Robert Henderson: “I’m not going to make decisions based on petitions.”) There was no opportunity granted for meaningful discussion on these important issues that affect all Islanders. The current system features further concentration of power, edited information being shared with a select group, and decisions based on undisclosed criteria.
The only opportunity we have for de-centralising this system and rebuilding public trust is through fundamentally changing how governments are elected.
I strongly urge Islanders to take the time to engage in the electoral reform process. The November plebiscite may be the only opportunity we have to create truly democratic governments.