Calgary city councillor Jeff Davison, the main public official advocating for a new Flames arena, has provided his latest thoughts on the process he hopes to see for getting one approved, and man, does he have feels aplenty:
“I wouldn’t see public debate as necessary in terms of this deal,” says the councillor.
“We’ve done our homework to do engagement up front. Engagement shouldn’t be used as a poison pill.
“And frankly, a lot of the people who want to engage after the fact want to shut projects down. They just want their vote to say: No, I still oppose this.”
That is definitely a bold policy position to take, telling your constituents that you don’t want to hear from them, because they might disagree with you! Did Davison temper his statements at all to admit that the public might have some role in democratic decision-making? Let’s find out!
“At the end of the day, through the channels that are already available to us, rather than just public debate people can call their councillor and they do.
“People can talk about it in the community and they do. People can engage where engagement has been available to them and they have.”
There we go: You can call your elected officials, and you can complain on Facebook. It’s 2019, people, what do you want, the right to make public decision by casting votes on broken pottery?
Davison’s view that democracy is about having your say on election day and then shutting up is actually a somewhat common one, at least among people who were voted in on election day and would now like everyone to shut up. Most memorably, then–New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani rejected proposals for a public referendum on building the Yankees a new stadium as representing “the absence of leadership”; though Giuliani also once said that “freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do,” so maybe he’s not exactly the go-to guy for dictionary definitions here.
Anyway, Davison also hinted that any Flames arena deal would include “a couple hundred million dollars being put into a public facility the city owns,” which if “a couple” means “two” would be a hell of a lot less than the Flames owners’ last proposal, but it’s probably best for Calgarians to believe it when they see it. And then if they don’t like it, call their councillors! That Jeff Davison seems like an open-minded fellow, I bet his staff will be happy to give their messages all the attention they deserve.