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Editorial: Freedom of speech in Sooke must be constructive — 114 Comments

  1. Freedom of speech (ie reporting) is necessary for informed voting and government. Transparency in government is also a requirement for good government. Shame on our council and mayor for not allowing free speech and having transparency in their governing. Next the black shirts will be at our doors in the night. Wake up Sooke, freedoms are important and silence is not.

    • In times if deceit,telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. George Orwell 1984

  2. Britt, this is awful.

    Muzzling the press, and demanding that people stop asking uncomfortable questions to hold our representatives accountable is anti-democratic. I’m sorry this happened and if Mayor Tait really intends to go after citizens and the press attempting to hold government accountable then she has lost my support.

  3. Holy crap on a cracker … that is beyond …wow I am speechless …. I am so sorry they gave no idea how to behave … I have personally witness ill manners from them when in somber ceremonies … I am not shocked they would hide …..

  4. Seems the election promises of transparency are long forgotten. Elected by the people, they are responsible to their constituents. Instead they are worried about what people think of them?! What a shame and embarrassment for Sooke.

    • Agreed. Obviously defamatory remarks from the public (or from elected officials, as has happened in the past) should be discouraged. But here we have a classic example of bullying the public as to their right of freedom of expression whilst giving the illusion of being “anti-bullying”. This Orwellian turn of events is alarming, to say the least. The public has to tiptoe fearfully around any thoughts of giving public input about what is going down in their own community whilst the local government appears to have given itself the license to judge what is Truth and what is Constructive and what is damaging to their Appearances. Yeeks! What has gone seriously amiss in this town?

  5. Very well written and although I am sorry that at times you (SPN) may feel your “pen” must remain still, I would rather this news source stay strong and remain a viable source of information to and about our community!

  6. I agree with Lorna, you are too valuable to our community to risk loosing, even in the struggle for justice. Thanks for letting us know about this, we will remember next election.

  7. This is ridiculous. Some councillors and a mayor throwing a tantrum because they’re under the looking glass. I think if they can’t handle criticism they’re in the wrong field. I hope somebody more progressive gets elected next time.

  8. This is slightly ridiculous. If this were a larger town where politicians are always on the hot seat they’d be sending out these letters every day – part of being a politician is knowing that people will disagree with your ideas/policies. It comes with the job. I also think that not “questioning” policies is not being a journalist. The purpose of journalism is to give a voice to the voiceless and to report, unbiasedly, on what is happening. By disregarding issues that may arise you are doing yourself and sooke a disservice. Nothing may come up, but don’t let them censor you if you have a binder of truth.

  9. I feel that this matter should be pursed, forwarded along to other media outlets for support in your quest for truth
    For our community leaders to feel that threatening your rights along with the publics is complete and utter BS, it is unethical and downright shameful
    Perhaps we should mass together and head to the next council meeting

  10. I would like to know what they consider to be “untrue”. This letter is too vague to have any purpose besides to bully and pressure those who have the courage to criticize and question what elected officials do. If they don’t have to be accountable to us, then who are they accountable to? If they can’t handle the heat then get out of the fire …

  11. I am shocked that anyone would possibly stand for a public post and NOT expect to be questioned. My 9 year old asked me the other day if bullies knew that they were bullies ….. And I’m wondering who’s the bully here? The Mayors statement (in my personal non-bullying opinion) seem to be bullying members of the public and press. Aren’t our elementary schools always trying to teach our kids what is, and isn’t, bullying? Maybe these representatives could do with a field trip?

    I think SPNs stance – to rise above this is the best choice. We don’t want to lose the fantastic service you provide Britt and I for one will enjoy reading the other 95% of your content while pondering what I will do with that vote when I get it.

  12. Everyone taking the time to write these comments of disappointment should also be taking the time to express the same sentiment directly to elected council in letter. They need to be reminded who they are here to serve.

  13. Everyone taking the time to write these comments of disappointment should also be taking the time to express the same sentiment directly to elected council in letter. They need to be reminded who they are here to serve.

  14. Last time I checked,a municipal Council cannot determine what is published in the media. And also the “reputation of their officials” is subject to THEIR public behaviour,and statements. Only THEY control that,no one else. I expect professional and legal behaviour from my elected officials and also expect that they be held to that standard and held accountable when they fall short of it.

  15. So, many many times has our group of Sooke watchdogs informed council that they were wrong and even illegal in their actions and changes to comply were made. I think Mayor and Council need the informed citizens to help them come to the right decisions. Elected officials are just members of the community and don’t know everything! This is getting bad when threats to the public are coming from our local government for being involved in the politics. Must say Im disappointed.

  16. Last council meeting of the year is Monday July 11, next Monday, at 7pm. It would be a great time for us to all show up and voice our displeasure….or duct tape your mouth shut and stand there silently.

  17. Pardon the pun…but I am left speechless. As one of the previous commenters mentioned, I too will remember this for the next election.

  18. Maia Tait I hope you read these comments and see the dissatisfaction of your constituents. I think SPN should continue their battle with council and get down to the truth. Bravo to you for keeping Sooke informed!

  19. Totally disgusted, disillusioned and disheartened by what is happening at the Municipal offices. I voted for Mayor Tait. I advocated for her. This is most definitely NOT what I expected from her administration. Just who is calling the shots on Otter Point Rd? Sad… very sad.

  20. council and the new expensive staff are working on the policy for information dissemination to the public – when are the public going to be involved in some input on this as so far it is their policy and how they want to handle and control it…..

  21. So I’m rereading the letter and I see that council wants the public to be bound by councils internal employee policy….what? We are constituents, not employees. We elected them, we don’t work for them.

  22. They do not have the right to do this, to bad SPN did not have their bank account, then you could afford a big time lawyer and take it to court. My respect for your Mayor and Council just disappeared

  23. It seems they have used the threat of time and legal expenses (conservative party tactics) to squash criticism and free speech. What happened to reason and facts being used as to defend ones position? Maybe because, in this case, reason and facts would lead us to even worse truths.
    I’m ashamed that my tax dollars support this council.

  24. Your honesty and continuous ‘overall’ look at the goings on in Sooke chambers is just a small part in why so many people support you. As a side note – I have always thought that Gail Hall would be an awesome Mayor. Good luck in your new adventure with council.

  25. Section 1 of the Constitution Act 1982 gives Canadians the right to free speech, but with “reasonable limits.” This ensures that almost anything one says can be considered unconstitutional and subject to legal prosecution. You have a right to speak your mind, but be careful of what you say.

    That being said, freedom of speech is something you have to give your worst enemy if it is something you wish to keep for yourself.

    • Council doesn’t get to define “reasonable limits,” a court of law does. and I say let them try. I say we start a legal fund and take this to the next level. A class action suit of our own. I say SPN continues its vital role as observer, reporter, information disseminator, and that we the people stand behind her, make her stronger, use that information appropriately to shape the community/society that we want to live and work in, and raise our children in. Shame on Mayor Tait, who just herself finished defending a violation of her own civil/human rights by this Council. Her husband’s behavior, in her defense during and after a council meeting at the end of her parental leave, calling for council to respect and abide their legal and ethical responsibilities, could be interpreted as harassment and bullying, yet she came to his defense. WTF?! it’s all ass backwards. and utterly baffling. if we band together and buy shares in SPN, then we the people become the legal owners of the SPN and it is then the legal voice of a collective, not the fledgling business and crucial livelihood of one private citizen who can be more easily threatened by bankruptcy. YES to a sit-in of sorts at the upcoming council meeting! YES to Gail for Mayor! YES to Britt continuing to be the critical thinking opposition watchdog. YES to splashing across the wider media highlighting this special brand of Sooke politics and governance what we are so sadly renowned for. it would make for a very interesting juxtaposition story to the wider media attention given to Mayor Tait’s parental leave battle. I voted for Mayor Tait, and never ever ever expected that she or Ebony Logins would condone this, nevermind sign their names to it. Absolutely unforgiveable. and not be forgotten.

      Truth is first ridiculed, then violently opposed, and finally accepted as self evident. oh for that day that our council gets to level three. holding out no hopes for this current administration…but that which doesn’t kill us (or shut us up and hold us down) will only make us stronger for a better future. for now, let us iron out these wrinkles (some super huge and stubborn) and learn as we go.

  26. Sooke has always been run like this with decisions being made behind closed doors. There was no support for the development and expanded parking of the Historic and classy Harbour House, that actually put Sooke on the map, but they blast through the ugly Mafia hotel without batting an eye. Let’s face it , the big business owners and developers who own the central town core businesses, continue to run Sooke, and are bedfellows with counsel, always have been. This is just more proof …no surprise they are shutting down anyone with brains and a voice representing how the citizens really feel.

  27. So incredibly disappointed with Sooke Council. Hiding behind ‘anti-bullying’ propaganda is no way to run the Chamber. I, for one, appreciate SPN’s faithful reporting because if SPN wasn’t doing it, we would be uninformed.
    This move on councils part is “double plus un-good.” Big Brother lives closer than we think or care to know eh?