Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Equal opportunity opinions

Today I received an anonymous comment on my Heart Lake post which said, and I quote, "Where do you live? I can guarantee everyone it's not Heart Lake!"

After careful consideration, I've decided that I will not, after this post, entertain such comments on my blog. Here's why:

If I were a betting man, my wager would be on the poster telling me that since I don't live in Heart Lake, I don't understand the issues and therefor my opinion is irrelevant. I do not live in Heart Lake, nor have I ever claimed to live in Heart Lake, nor have I ever claimed to represent the community. However, for the last 15 years I have shopped at the majority of businesses in Heart Lake; enjoyed the library, recreation centre / pool, trails and sports fields in Heart Lake; and I have even worked in Heart Lake at the recreation centre. The vast majority of the people I hung out with in high school lived in Heart Lake and many still do. I read the local newspaper, and I even remember when Loafer's Lake had paddle boats you could rent. In addition, I am a graduate of Ryerson University's School of Urban and Regional Planning where I have gained the knowledge to better understand my own community and be able to critically examine modern planning principles. I believe that those aspects of my person qualify me to speak on development issues in Heart Lake.

But, even if all the above was untrue, any informed person should be given the opportunity to speak on any issue and not have their opinion dismissed because they don't live on the right side of an arbitrary boundary. If this were the case, then what gives Brampton City Council, other than the councillors for the area (and perhaps the mayor) the moral authority to make decisions that affect Heart Lake? If only two (local and regional) councillors actually lives here, shouldn't the rest of them just butt out too?

It's okay to respectfully disagree with someone else. However, it is not okay to attempt to marginalize someone because they do not agree with your position. Everyone has something to contribute to the discourse of how we want our communities to develop, and everyone should be heard. So, if you don't like what I have to say then I encourage you to start your own blog or write your elected officials and tell them where you stand on issues. As long as the issues are being discussed, I have done my job.

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