Westward Independent

Thin-Skinned Leadership: Why Our Elected Officials Need to Toughen Up

by Westward Independent
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Dear CVRD Elected Officials,

It appears that our local elected have taken a page from the manual of “How to Muzzle Citizens 101.” Any time someone dares to raise a concern or voice their frustrations, the conversation is promptly shut down. It’s reminiscent of dealing with a customer service issue at a fast food drive-thru. Imagine complaining about your order only to have the attendant say, “Our burgers are perfect; drive on.” It seems that’s the level of discourse we’re dealing with here.

We’ve heard farmers trying to voice concerns about bylaw issues and citizens claiming harassment from staff when attempting to resolve situations. Yet, at the mere suggestion of the word “harassment,” the chair promptly retorts, “Our staff don’t harass anyone,” and that’s the end of the discussion.

How comforting.

Leadership isn’t about stifling voices; it’s about listening to them, even when they’re inconvenient or uncomfortable. A good leader creates an environment where people feel comfortable voicing their concerns. Instead, what we’re witnessing is a “softness” that’s not just ineffective but downright “gross,” to borrow a phrase from the public sentiment.

Imagine if our ancestors had this level of thin skin. The country would still be negotiating the color of the first flag. The reality is that leadership requires more than just a title and a gavel. It requires the ability to handle criticism, dissect it, and extract valuable takeaways to improve governance. It’s about having the strength to stand in the face of dissent and the wisdom to see it as a tool for growth.

So, to our local elected, it’s time to toughen up. The public isn’t asking for much—just a platform to voice their thoughts without being immediately dismissed. Think of it as a customer feedback session at your local drive-thru. Sometimes the complaints are legitimate, and fixing them could make the service a whole lot better.

Let’s aim for a leadership that isn’t just about shutting down conversations but one that fosters open dialogue, embraces criticism, and actually listens. After all, if a fast food chain can handle a complaint about a missing burger, surely our elected officials can manage a bit of public input without getting their feelings hurt.

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