by LAURA KEIL
The rainbow crosswalk proposal stirred up a lot of public comment during the last Valemount Council meeting.
I want to commend the people that stood up to share their views. It takes courage to voice a view you know is not shared by everyone.
That’s more than I can say for Mayor and Council.
It would not have been a surprise to them that this item was on the agenda. They had at least four days to think about it. Talk to people. Do some basic research.
Yet, after both Mandy and Gail’s presentation and the acceptance of one letter of opposition, the four councillors and mayor said… absolutely nothing. They referred it to staff for research, without so much as a peep.
What can we assume from this?
Does it mean they don’t care? I doubt that. Given the diverse strong viewpoints in our community, they surely have views.
Is it because they don’t know what they think? Again, I doubt it. They had several days to consider the issue. And this Council decision, more than most, is one you make with your heart, not your head.
Mayor and Council must be afraid, and as a result they’re not willing to be accountable to voters. Even if there are some unknowns around bylaws etc, a councillor could simply say “I support this in principle” or “I have some concerns about x-y-z before taking a stance.”
But as of now, we have no idea what those concerns might be.
The main bureaucratic objection brought up by the two dissenting voices involved the precedent this would set. Rainbow crosswalk today, white supremacist crosswalk tomorrow.
I’m not sure how you can state this argument with a straight face. It’s so absurd, it’s almost funny. What would a white supremacist crosswalk look like anyway? You have to wear a pointy white hat in order to cross?
If such a proposal did come to Council, Council (and I would hope everyone in the Village) would simply say ‘no.’ Why? A white supremacist crosswalk is exclusive, not inclusive. Oh, and hate speech is a thing in Canada.
Then there’s the same-old, same-old fallacy that’s made in relation to everything from rainbow crosswalks to International Women’s Day to Black Lives Matter protests. Why are we singling out one group to celebrate? Why can’t we just celebrate everyone?
Ummm, good question. Why can’t everyone be treated with the same respect and opportunities? People assume that everyone is already afforded the same respect and opportunities. They are not.
More than 30 per cent of trans people attempt suicide, and studies show this is largely a result of social marginalization, not being trans in itself.
Therefore, let’s celebrate everyone?
How about, more than a third of trans people attempt suicide. Therefore, let’s band together as a community and society and help those people feel accepted. Let’s help them reach their potential by believing in them. One of them might cure cancer or write the next great novel or be your child or grandchild.
So, Council, what do you think?