Noticed an article in the Montreal Gazette lately. It smacks of the twisted logic of paternalism. Serge Menard, minister responsible for the Montreal area, said that the municipal referendum process and rules should be changed.

According to the Minister, the process is costly and hampering economic development. He mentioned the city council of Longueuil complaining that only three per cent of the city’s population is needed to block a project.

The city claimed that the rest of the residents want these projects and they will be to the over-all advantage of the residents.

It is then that Menard said, “So, you have to ask yourself if certain rules of referendums shouldn’t be revised in the current context”

I guess my reply would be that referendums are the way we can be included in that “yourself” category. These rules of referendum are the method by which average citizens can exercise their right to determine their own futures. They are a reminder to those who we chose to lead us that we are permitted under rules of law to exercise a right to question the wisdom of certain actions, projects or other forms of development that would affect our democratic way of life.

Otherwise they could become a select group of elected feudal barons. A four-year term to ask “yourself” how to take care of all those children out there.

I would have to say to myself that I prefer the checks and balances that I and other citizens enjoy.

Perhaps the minister should put the question to the people? Perhaps he’d be willing to put his popularity on the line.

Democracy includes the right to decide on your leaders and to question what they do in a very real way. This is not a right I would give up willingly.

To be deprived of a peaceful method to fight city hall on issues of concern would be neither beneficial or productive for any citizen, municipality, province or nation. The days of the Indian Affairs and the Great Father in Ottawa are long over for the Crees and I do not think anyone would willingly go back to them.

It is hoped that the people in Montreal fight this paternalistic attempt on the minister’s part to give you an aboriginal experience you wouldn’t soon forget