Wisest decision often found between warring factions

It seems to me that nothing brings a community together like having something to disagree on. Recent issues from the George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project all the way down to the placement of a Tim Hortons are examples of that. People love taking up a side and digging in their heels.

I do not mean to cast doubt on the holy mandate of any personal crusade. I have been known to carry a torch and pitchfork on behalf of Delta Hospital and the environment.

However, it is important to remember the goal of these disagreements. The purpose of these passionate debates is to work together — using reason, logic and facts — to determine the best course of action for our community.

In most situations involving warring factions, the wise decision lies between the battle lines in moderation and compromise. Unfortunately, this is often the most difficult position to hold as you are open to attack from both sides and run the risk of making no one happy.

It is in this precarious position that our policy makers often find themselves.

Nowhere is this more evident than the issue of port expansion. On one side you have pro-industry individuals that would expand at all costs (such as the port’s Terminal 2 expansion which lies beyond all rationality or justification). On the other side you have people concerned for human safety, quality of life and the environment who would like to see no increase in industry whatsoever. Everyone else tends to falls somewhere in the middle.

This highlights the two political truths I have mentioned before: 1) care for the people and the land; 2) pay your bills and grow prosperity.

Both are true, but in the case of port expansion, all of the decision makers are on the side of industry. This is because the federal government took an arms-reach approach and gave control of the port to an appointed board of directors (all but one of whom are leaders of industry) who in turn took a hands-off approach and gave control to the executive under the sole leadership of the appointed CEO of the port, Robin Silvester.

This allows the port to run as an arm of government without any of its accountability. This is the danger of giving complete control to any one side. This means the port does not justify its expansion as being for the betterment of society, but only to expand its capacity. This is why it actively fights and ignores more economically beneficial options in Prince Rupert and Ashcroft in favour of building a second man-made island.

No one is opposed to growing the economy; they just want to ensure we have found the best way possible. People need to keep this goal in mind when they go into any argument or take up any position. By disagreeing we are working together to seek the wisest path forwards through compromise.

This is why democracy works. No one side deserves the crown.

Community advocate Nicholas Wong ran as an independent candidate in Delta South in May’s provincial election. He finished second with more than 6,400 votes. He can be reached at mrnicholaswong@gmail.com

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