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Serious sanctions

With a strong response from Rocky View County (RVC) residents regarding the sanctioning of three councillors June 11, we were pleased to see the County issue a press release June 20 offering more details to explain how council came to its divisive decision.

Apparently, council intended for the imposed sanctions to be a “fairly low-key rebuke,” according to the release – but it’s difficult to see how a significant reduction in wages and removal of the councillors from the committees they serve is anything but severe.

However, the Code of Conduct is in place for a reason, and council is certainly well within its rights to enforce it. And it seems as though some action did need to be taken, as a breach of legal confidentiality is a serious concern.

Still, we would prefer to see these consequences handed down in a more consistent manner. When one councillor can get away with aggressively berating colleagues in a professional setting, it hardly seems fair to punish others for using strong language to express a controversial opinion.

Allowing councillors the freedom to express individual opinions is imperative in a democracy, and – as we pointed out in last week’s editorial – sometimes, the wording used in these expressions can be assertive. What one group sees as a fair and effective representation of a contentious issue could easily be interpreted as discourteous by those who think differently.