Be it resolved …

If only life were that easy.

It is rare to see vastly different opinions on Centre Wellington council, but the issue about becoming a Fair Trade  Town surely demonstrated a healthy local democracy.

Rookie councillor Kelly Linton proposed via a notice of motion that Centre Wellington township join a growing chorus of people intent on raising the wellness of third world farmers and businesspeople. Coffee, in this case, would be purchased from merchants or sources that sell Fair Trade coffee.

In a nutshell, a higher purchase price would trickle down to the farmers in far off countries, allowing for a better standard of living. Currently, like the plight of most red meat or grain farmers here, the price paid is the price bid that day. It is not an entirely sustainable platform, but it is nevertheless a free market formula for establishing prices.

Although the motion was lost in a recorded vote, neither Linton nor councillor Mary Lloyd, who supported the motion, can be thought of less for trying to resolve for better.

But there’s a little more to the story, of course.

The notion of feel good motions has all but gone the way of the dodo bird. It is not that long ago that many groups and activities were supported by council resolution.

Groups who did not get a positive response from local councils on their cause du jour, sought remedy in the courts, using the power of tools afforded under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In many respects it was a sad day when announcing a Boy Scout or Girl Guide Week had to be denied. But that came about on the basis that councils endorsing mainstream niceties would then be forced to endorse crazy events like Satan week or declare such days not to be in keeping with their personal or religious beliefs.

While the intent of Fair Trade is less an event than an attitude, it falls under a similar circumstance.

We have some sympathy too for councillor Fred Morris, who took the less popular but correct position that this motion was taking council down a road it could not afford to travel. It is the argument of picking winners when such a path is taken. And is it not ironic that failing to support Fair Trade could arguably be spun to suggest that Morris supports Unfair Trade?

But such is the way of groups and legislation that attempt to cure the ills of the world. Sometimes the best choices are those made individually. I have enjoyed fair trade coffee on occasion and suspect others do too.

To suggest though, that its consumption becomes a political requirement is a little over the top.

Regardless of those nuances, it was good to see a healthy debate on an issue that has been considered at council for several weeks now and one that goes back a few years.