In response to Record editor Pat Tracy's call for reader input into how The Record should tailor its election coverage, some "twitter litter" suggested that it would be enhanced if The Record ceased to publish my letters. I was saddened more than maddened at this attempted "Silence of the Lambs".
I have sent in letters that have opined on a plethora of civic issues ranging from the position that our city councillors need to be "A voice not an echo." to issues wherein a non-consultative bureaucracy has recommended the destruction of heritage and recreational amenities that have been rubber-stamped by council. I have also been critical of processes and consultation restricted to the Mayor's committee appointees rather than those with expertise who care about the faces and places of our city.
I have also questioned the city's process and motives in destroying an historic Performing Art's venue pointing out the facts of an unwarranted subsidy by taxpayer dollars of the successful proponent, the confiscation of property without due process, and debunked the myths surrounding the financial success of the theatrical performances launched in the old "Burr Theatre".
The above issues, and more, have been canvassed to bring some enlightenment to readers and offer contretemps to the well-covered "spin" of those who currently hold power or occupy the "bully pulpit" that effect our property, pocket books and quality of life. The suggested censorship here is perhaps even more dangerous than the intimidation tactics of incumbents who imply that "There will be difficulty at city hall." for those that display the signs of their challengers.
I have been imbued with the "Cannons of Journalism" which nurture the ideals that the press should offer a voice to "the outs" in order to counterbalance the tyrannical echo of "the ins". I take some comfort that Letters to the Editor offer a forum for revealing facts, uncovering hypocrisy and offering alternatives.
Unlike those in the "tweet" medium, our product is subject to editorial censorship - sometimes with a surgical knife, other times butchered with a meat cleaver and occasionally end up unpublished on the cutting room floor.
It would be a sad day if The Record silenced a contributor as the result of a twit on twitter. By all means, let's disagree, but let's do it in open forum rather than a call for censorship. If that happened, we may eventually find ourselves in the position that Plato's famous quote outlined when he said "The price of apathy toward public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." Recall here that some 78% of New Westminster voters apathetically abandoned their franchise in the last election and, in consequence, their right to complain.
E. C. "Ted" Eddy