Why bother?

In a casual sponsorship conversation this past week, an organizer shared the phrase “Why bother?” One of that group’s COVID efforts to elevate student opportunities during the lockdown was met by some negative chatter at the time.

A bit of work had gone into the plan, as well as some expense to convert space at the art facility, but the point was to open doors for kids stuck in the rut of online learning. Community space does need to flex as needs arise, and after the fact what better ambassadors could be found than users who benefitted in a time of crisis?

Why bother? is a question asked here on a regular basis and the internal dialogue goes something to the effect: can we improve a situation for others, recognizing somebody must step up.

Yes, taking the easy way out or going with the flow makes for a less stressful existence, but failing to carry one’s weight or declining to lend a hand to someone just isn’t in our DNA. We happen to believe most people operate that way in their private pursuits or workplace. 

It would be a rare occasion that we would complain about the chores involved with publishing this newspaper. Although finances are always a concern and weighing the balance between a sustainable enterprise and giving away the farm with too much coverage is always taxing, we have managed that task despite incredible headwinds. But tougher than those obvious stressors are those occasions where this publisher feels strongly enough about an issue to pen an unpopular editorial.

This area, such as it is, and the deep family roots and connections here, often mean the players involved are friends of friends or known associates. To imagine for a moment great joy comes from critically examining a situation and naming names is tragically naïve. 

The question “why bother?” comes to mind regularly, but if in the end a conversation happens and good comes from that, it is an essential part of our duty as the newspaper of record in Wellington County.

We continue to offer up opinions that run contrary to those controlling the levers of power, whether that be local politicians or public officials tasked with implementing agendas established by council. 

We will also defend their right to make decisions as elected people when they follow due process and operate in a transparent fashion. If the system appears to be getting gamed at the expense of the average person, we will have a problem with that and say so. That’s the deal – always has been. 

Regrettably, that to and fro, is not good enough for some. 

Centre Wellington councillor Ian MacRae has now responded to an editorial published two weeks ago about the need for change at the Chamber of Commerce and its awards program. As a reminder, he was the mayor’s fill-in for the Citizen of the Year judging after Kelly Linton recused himself. 

MacRae was part of the adjudication group who chose council colleague deputy mayor Neil Dunsmore for the township sponsored award over four other nominees. While an apology is appropriate for misspelling MacRae’s name, our opinion that elected officials should not be awarded honours meant for citizens stands. Nothing personal – as clearly noted – that’s just the way we see it.

Although that caveat or disclaimer was good enough for most people, we do live in a free country full of opinion and conspiracy seekers. The choice to stick to an issue and offer up different perspectives or engage in the poorest of political banter remains a personal one. 

MacRae clearly has chosen the latter option, engaging in fantastic aspersions we must assume as an attempt to avoid accountability for his role in choosing his council friend over everyday citizens who perform their community work without the expectation of reward.

Why bother? It’s pretty obvious.