We all well remember how Wendal Milne’s campaign was based on bringing “positive change” to council by listening to his country fellows. How can we forget the mayor’s noble words of encouragement to those who collected 1,500 signatures against the service agreement between the District of Sooke and Epcor Water Ltd? “Hats off to the citizens of Sooke for speaking out on a matter that is important to all of us” (Sooke News Mirror – Jun 22, 2011).
Unfortunately, this supporting act was just part of a political strategy. Two years later, 2,100 constituents in Sooke are now discovering a different face of the mayor. After SAFARS gathered 15 per cent more signatures than the amount required by the Province of British Columbia to invoke a referendum, council is now ignoring the public’s request. Our petition was not added to the agenda.
Therefore, SAFARS wonders when our democratic rights are going to be respected. On December 9, 2013, we specifically requested the mayor to put a motion on the table.
“The public needs to know about the councilors’ position regarding the plight of abandoned and feral cats in the district of Sooke,” we said. However, with an inflamed attitude they denied us this privilege and said he will not put a motion.
What did councillors think about our presentation and about our repeated explanations of how people feel when they find an animal in distress in their backyards? The videos of the council meetings from the August 12, October 28 and December 9, 2013, fully display how most councillors could not care less about the overpopulation of abandoned cats dying everywhere. Most councillors preferred to continue reading the agenda than to listen to our presentation. They could not care less about the Sooke constituents requesting council to lend or to lease us a piece of land where we can build an animal shelter.
According to the District of Sooke Chief-Bylaw Officer’s directions, people should “stop feeding the cats and let them starve” (letter included on the district’s October 28 council meeting’s supplementary information).
Last on this lack of democracy is the fact that on three different occasions the mayor should have removed himself from the table and he did not do it. The barn we have restored and from where we will be evicted belongs to his wife’s aunt. Our request to council for a piece of land is an emergency situation created by this eviction.
Sooke Animal Food & Rescue Society, SAFARS