To the Editor:
I have long been a reader of the Advocate and, even when in disagreement with the paper’s editorial position, I have had great respect for their balanced reporting and insights. It seems, however, that Advocate editorial staff have become caught up in a groundless rumour that has recently taken hold in our community.
An editorial published in the Advocate on October 5 refers to “the persistent profile of the Amalgamation No Thank You group’s campaign”. The comments compare this so-called negative campaign with a characterization of Pulse as positive and forward-looking. This is not fair. It is not accurate, and it is not good journalism.
Individuals who agree with the views of either group do not automatically represent the group. Nor does membership in a group mean that an opinion expressed by one member represents the group’s beliefs. If this were the case, suggestions by individual members of the Pulse group that municipal restructuring should proceed without resort to a public plebiscite would justify labeling the Pulse group as undemocratic. Similarly, if this were true, the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, of which I was once President, should now be labeled as standing against amalgamation because of my membership in ANTY. Both conclusions are absurd.
ANTY has not made any public communications since introducing its Pictou County Possibilities Project in June. There have certainly not been any group communications or other group involvement in the current municipal elections. I am not aware of any reporter from the Advocate having inquired about the activities or intentions of ANTY in the past three months.
Any reference to an ongoing election campaign by ANTY is not factual and is not based on any research by Advocate journalists. No such campaign has been undertaken, and does not exist. Stating that it does is, in its own way, detrimental to positivity and forward movement in the county.
We acknowledge that ANTY does continue to function and thrive – as a group dedicated to promoting strong local communities through responsible and responsive local government. We see this as a positive vision, even if the Advocate does not agree.
The editorial notes that ANTY has sought to “plow salt into the soil of amalgamation so the idea will never resurface”, and that Pulse has sought to find common ground. The two are not opposites nor are they mutually exclusive.
If a pollutant has come onto my property from a neighbour’s lot, it is both reasonable and prudent, after cleaning my lot, to create a barricade to eliminate the risk of a repeat. At the same time my neighbour and I – and preferably both of us – can and should find a way to work together and eliminate the risk.
Satchel Paige may indeed have told us not to look back. Despite these “words of wisdom,” most motor vehicles today must, by law, be equipped with rear-view mirrors, and our driving instructors tell us to use those mirrors.
Winston Churchill is quoted as saying “Those who fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it.” Learning from our past has led to significant improvements in the present. Many of today’s medicines and other remedies have been developed from insights gained by looking to ancient healers. Improved building standards in earthquake zones have been developed as a result of learning from previous disasters. Looking back is not the same as moving backward. On the contrary, looking back can provide us with valuable insights that will make moving forward both easier and more successful.
Brian W. White
Chairman – Amalgamation No Thank You