RICHARD BELL: They Do It Because They Can

Richard Bell
The Eastern Shore Cooperator
February 25, 2021

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In this issue, we are confronting a single problem that corrupts the politics of the province: our Liberal government’s insidious, systematic refusal to allow the citizens of Nova Scotia to participate in making major government policy decisions. 

The issue at stake here, the tension between any government’s power and that government’s responsibilities to its citizens, is not a new one. In the first flowering of democracy in Greece, the Athenians wrestled with this problem. History shows us time and again how easily governments can con their subjects with “bright shiny objects” like promises of golf courses or long-delayed schools, today’s equivalent of the Romans’ bread and circuses.  

[…] We have given the Liberals the responsibility to govern democratically. But the Liberals have increasingly used their power to ignore their responsibility to govern democratically, choosing instead to govern through the use of raw power, with democracy and the people be damned. Such behaviour creates a vicious circle of apathy, cynicism, and anger that only further alienate the people from any belief in the redemptive powers of democracy.  

When a government chooses to hide its deliberations from the public, nothing good results, as we are seeing right now on the Eastern Shore in the fight to save Owls Head Provincial Park, and in the blow-back against the decision to place a consolidated Eastern Shore District High and Gaetz Brook Junior High in the Eastern Shore Industrial Park in East Chezzetcook.  

Owls Head 

In the case of Owls Head Provincial Park, Iain Rankin, our new Premier, then Minister of Lands & Forestry, has provided a particularly telling example of how profound the Liberals’ contempt for the voters really is. Rankin and the bureaucrats at Lands &Forestry engaged in at least three years of secret discussions resulting in the offer to sell Owls Head Provincial Park to an American billionaire’s company, Lighthouse Links, without the public’s knowledge. There were no public hearings about the wisdom of selling the park. There was no public information at all. 

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