This week I received what I would call “hate mail”. It’s taken me more than 10 years to attract this kind of attention. Does this mean I’ve arrived? The hand-written note asked why I didn’t cover issues of interest to them and quoted “facts” and accusations of wrongdoing they expected to read about in the paper. The list of complaints was extensive, some of them laughable. A little research would have allayed most of the unfounded concerns, but why let a few facts get in the way of a good rant?
The writer claimed that the township was being invaded, and that the paper, cleverly referred to as the Millbrook Crimes, was enabling this invasion. The last Council had ruined the community. The writer wanted to know how the community would benefit from the many new subdivisions planned for the area, and expressed concern about the threat of development to farmland. Councils past and present have consistently recognized the challenge of managing the financial impact of new development on municipal budgets, as well as the threat to farmland. These threats have grown significantly with new provincial planning legislation. Municipal leaders continue to push back against the source of this pressure with limited success.
Perhaps on the big issues, then, we come close to agreement- even with those who work on our behalf. It’s easy to criticize people who are doing something to make the township better, including new residents and newspaper publishers. Critics might not have the time or energy to “Be the change they want to see in the world”, but as a minimum they should have the courage of their conviction to own their opinions and sign their name.