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2004-10-07: Don't Shame Politicians for Changing Their Minds

Letter to the Editor
Submitted by Kirstin Lund, PEIACSW Chairperson
October 7, 2004

As the chair of an organization which very often finds itself trying to convince the government to make changes, I was disappointed to read this paperís coverage of the reinstatement of the crossing guard by the Charlottetown City Council. Instead of celebrating the Councilís decision to listen to its constituents and make a change, this paper attempted to shame the Council for reversing the decision.

Reporting that "Lee buckled under public pressure" and that Bruce Garrity was "singing a new tune" forces all politicians to think twice about accepting new information, listening to constituents and revising strategies to best meet the needs of the people that are affected.

What the City Council did was what I want all politicians to do - be reasonable, be flexible, be open to finding different ways to solve problems, and above all else, meet the needs of the people they represent.

Reasonable people change their minds - we want governments to be reasonable. Shaming politicians for finding new approaches just forces them to be sneaky when they realize theyíve made an error. This is a waste of time and resources, both on the part of governments and community organizations which are attempting to lobby for change.

Letís celebrate flexible and responsive government decision-making and weíll encourage it to happen more frequently.

Kirstin Lund is the chairperson of the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women.

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