The Sun Always Rises, Even After A Bad Decision

So battle of the Convention Centre appears to be winding down.  While there will be further skirmishes before the end, the vote at Regional Council shows that its going to pass, pretty much as is.

So in the aftermath, are WTCC supporters cracking Champagne and the opposition crying in their craft beers?

Maybe, but not me.

When I wrote “Why We Fight” a month ago, my concern was and remains transparency – WTCC did not release the consultant reports until forced, there was never an open process for public and stakeholder input into facility design and how the space would be developed and used. (EDIT: by this I mean about the Convention Centre as a concept and a plan, not the building design review that is to come as would happen with any development proposal.)

For me, it was always about the process of the thing, so the fact that the building might be built is not the end of my world.

This process has lead to a moderately poor decision, with a project with some merits, an unnecessarily vitriolic debate, and a simply horrible funding model.

I think we need a new convention centre, and aside from the process, the tone of the debate was hard to take.

People I feel should know better defending the pro-development side lost a lot of my respect due to the shrill and dismissive tone they took with anyone who opposed them.

Those of us engaged in civil society for decades are not willing to fall in line behind a booster club that seems more concerned about the ends and not at all concerned about the means.

Being told to “focus on the big picture” and then being rebuffed for pointing out the big picture has to include our $12.5 billion dollar debt and our actual fiscal capacity was, well, breathtaking.

For me, the worst example was watching these leaders tweet dismissively about Dr. Heywood Saunders and his credentials.  It was frankly just unsettling and tacky, evoking the worst of US anti-intellectual politics: shades of the Republican heartland.

I hope this was simply people new to social media, not knowing how to set an appropriate tone, and not a harbinger of the kind of contribution we can expect in the future.

  • You have nailed exactly what has troubled me the most: the dismissive, condescending attitudes the ardent pro-cons have towards anyone who asks questions or offers up concerns. It’s like watching little kids told to clean their rooms or eat their vegetables. Fingers in their ears, they chant “neener neener booboo, we can’t hear you…”

    • Anonymous

      It was pretty shocking, as a generally pro-development as long as it is pro HRMbD, anti-government messing with the free market dude to be brushed aside as uninformed, and clueless, because I was asking questions.

  • Well Waye, I took the time to meet a lot of new folks during this thing. We don’t like to imagine there are willfully bad people out there. We always want to discuss and consult as if we are all agreed that we will follow rational discourse wherever it leads us.

    But you need to know it’s not true. There are self-interested folks out there and they are mingling with hate filled bitter nasty greedy people. Their common cause, no matter what they say, is simple – to keep things rolling along exactly as they are, running the same scams, same policies and same MO as they have for a generation.

    The pretense of rational discussion, consultation, compromise are as false as their interest in history, youth, the future, the world around us or any other people. They have no interest at all in self-improvement or improving the city or Nova Scotia. But they are smart. They will use any of these words or concepts to get what they want – for things to keep on exactly the same.

    • Anonymous

      A dark vision, JWC. I can’t help but worry about what you say. But this is politics. To me, all you can do is keep appealing to the common sense of the every day, silent middle and hope that you can win the votes and poll numbers to keep the whole polity from running off the rails. There are always clueless idealist at one side and venal self involved users at the other end. Not left and right, maybe up and down? Regardless, you just have to keep doing the best you can and hope calmly speaking the truth over and over and over again can carry the day, or at least mitigate the damage caused by either of these extremes.

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