Negotiations take two

Of all the issues whirling around Williams Lake City Hall these days, the big one, of course, is the history-making civic strike.

Of all the issues whirling around Williams Lake City Hall these days, the big one, of course, is the history-making civic strike. I’m writing this on Sunday, who knows what the situation will be this week, but it is good news that the city and union members were to be back negotiating Monday.

I was disappointed that Mayor Cook launched herself into the dispute. It seems to me the least said, soonest  mended. The unionized workers aren’t the bad guys, they are our friends, neighbours and relatives and they aren’t on strike for fun. When it comes to stalled negotiations, it takes two to tango. Previous councils managed to get along with union workers This council can’t get along with its neighbours, either. Makes one wonder.

The bottom line, in my humble opinion, is city politicians are elected to run the city — one would hope in a responsible manner.

Given that the city is embroiled in a few other issues (fringe fire protection, community forests, prosperity mine) maybe councillors could use some coaching in tact and diplomacy, as well as negotiating.

In the meantime, I  have a couple of questions. If  city finances are in such dire straits, are councillors and management willing to set an example and take rollbacks too? Or do councillors and management operate under a different  set of rules?

British  Columbians are finally going to have a senior’s advocate, but it isn’t what many of us expected. The advocate won’t investigate individual complaints and the office will be under the Health Ministry instead of being accountable to the B.C. Legislature. Mind you, Child Commissioner Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond is an independent advocate and in spite of her scathing reports there are still problems for children in care. Many of Auditor General John Doyle’s recommendations haven’t been acted on, either, so maybe it’s just as well not to have high expectations for seniors.

Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.