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Without local newspapers, democracy will die

July 3rd,2024 | Valley Voices

By Andrew Salkeld

Trevor Greenway, in the July 19 editorial column, has done a majestic job of highlighting the absence and unavailability of our elected National Assembly representative, Robert Bussière. Most local people are aware of this apparently abhorrent and anti-democratic neglect, but as individuals we are powerless to express our dismay that, once elected, Bussière has hidden in the corridors of power and turned his back on his constituents. Thank heavens, our local newspaper takes up the cudgels on our behalf. Who else can speak for the community to its elected representatives?  

Bussière is supposed to be on the side of all people in the area whether they voted for him or not, just as the elected government must speak for all citizens. Monsieur Legault, for example, is head of a government that leads all the citizens of Quebec, and not simply the leader of a political party who gained 41 per cent of the vote in elections. Once elected, all leaders are expected to put country above party. As an example, it is quite incorrect and rather subversive to talk of “the Trudeau Government.” We should remember it is the Government of Canada and not the Trudeau government. And the more we call it “the Trudeau Government” the less we empower ourselves – we see ourselves as victims. Similarly in Quebec, we do not have a Legault government, but we do have a Government of Quebec, which by its very nature must aspire to support the legitimate interests of the citizens. However, it’s our current leaders who are taking no account of minority needs and interests. And if Bussière is against us, as he appears to be, then who is he for, one may ask. It appears he is for his party leader, his paycheck, and for the army of civil servants who are locked in the unassailable towers of authority in far-off Quebec City.

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes” the Romans asked. “Who is watching the guardians?” we may ask. The government has the responsibility of being the guardian of its people. But who is checking up on our guardians? Certainly not our federal government guardians. As a predominantly anglo and Liberal-voting region of Quebec, we seem to resign ourselves to failing public services and a silent representative in the Assembly. The Low Down expresses our views, helps to hold us together and to be the mirror that reflects back to us that we exist and are of value.

The Low Down has the courage to express our local majority and minority views about the appalling reduction in healthcare and the incipient racism in our administrations. The Low Down has the voice that sustains a vestige of hope that we have not been abandoned to die, or else to decamp to Ontario. Publisher Nikki Mantell and Editor Trevor Greenway could have chosen to remain silent, but they have had the courage to fight on behalf of many of us in the area. Thank you.

Andrew Salkeld is a resident of Wakefield. 

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Support feisty, independent journalism.

 

At the Low Down, we are passionate about delivering quality local news to Gatineau Hills residents. But passion alone cannot pay the bills.

To help meet the demands of inflation and the costs of producing fact-based local news, we have introduced new pricing options. Our goal is to meet readers where they’re at, and keep our newspaper as affordable as possible.

Print + Digital Subscriptions

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