Issues, not mud, should decide election
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 09, 2013 06:00 am
Itís unfortunate that St. Albertís city election has degenerated into a name-calling contest. Campaign issues are now in the rearview mirror.
Part of the problem is that itís easy to be anonymous. The digital age is full of anonymity. People use false identities because it makes it easy for them to take pot shots at people and issues. They donít have to back up their claims, and therefore they donít have to be accountable. This is why itís easy for right-thinking people to dismiss the meandering musings of the digital trolls Ė anyone who wants to be taken seriously had better identify himself.
It takes courage to accept responsibility for what you say and do. Anonymity tends to encourage vicious attacks, because no one has to take responsibility for the attack, which is why the St. Albert Gazette doesnít accept anonymous letters. Plus, accusations begin when people attack others by linking them to a controversial anonymous group, and since no names are associated, any kind of mud can be thrown. The Gazette website moderator had to handle accusations like this over the past weekend.
Another anonymous group, the St. Albert Think Tank has, regrettably, become the focus of the city council and mayoral campaigns, rather than issues that impact the future of the city. Thatís a shame. The Think Tank has been running a number of ads with the Gazette, and many of them raised valid concerns about the way the St. Albert city council makes decisions.
However, the Think Tankís approach caused a stir last week when a Think Tank email, forwarded to the Gazette, called Mayor Nolan Crouse a ďcowardĒ for snubbing its forum. It was a tirade rather than intelligent discourse, by an anonymous source, from an entity that claims transparency and accountability. Crouse told the Gazette he wouldnít participate in the forum because he didnít know who was organizing it.
Local businessman Gord Hennigar came forward to the Gazette Monday to identify himself as the ďSt. Albert Think Tank spokespersonĒ after being directly contacted. He said no other Think Tank members will identify themselves because they are afraid their families or businesses will face retaliation.
Reasoned arguments based on fact win respect and integrity. Pot shots from the sidelines will raise the ire of those who are the targets. The groupís anonymity, to this point, has caused many to question its motives and credibility. Perhaps now we can get on with the business of an election and pursue the important issues. The Think Tank has identified some of these issues. All candidates should be prepared to debate them at its forum on Oct. 16.