We need to do better.
- Inappropriate gestures in council
- Paid social media “troll” accounts
- Special interest groups harassing community members with opposing views
- Neighbours accusing other neighbours of blocking progress because they want to push a project or development to be the best it can be for the neighbourhood, not because they are afraid of change
- Spreading misinformation and capitalizing on fear to promote ones own agenda
- Aggressive behavior aimed at women on social media
We ALL need to do better.
There have been several events of late where we’ve seen people – from city councillors to business people to local residents – get involved in behaviors that should quite frankly be beneath us all. The noise and distractions these interactions create do nothing to move us ahead as a city and as a community. They don’t improve the economy, they don’t change processes or save money and they certainly don’t add to any productive conversations or resolutions. What they do is slow us down. These behaviors draw lines in the sand, create silos. They make us paint groups with a sweeping brush, polarizing us within our own neighbourhoods and workplaces.
Public discourse needs to be better.
What Calgary needs is strong leadership with integrity. Both on council and within its administration, but also within its communities. People need to start stepping up and putting an end to petty, unproductive activities like name-calling and media sparring that distract us from the task at hand – running a great City. We need to give each other respect regardless of political leanings, gender, place of employment or whatever other stereotypes we have in our heads about people.
We need more people to stand up and speak out when they see inappropriate or dishonest things happening. We need to listen openly to each other and try to understand different perspectives. When you do that, that’s where we progress and the more progress happens, benefiting everyone – from residents to businesses and the city.
What we’ve seen recently does not add value. It does not reflect who we are as a city. And it doesn’t promote collaboration or forward thinking or allow anyone to achieve success with their initiatives. You don’t have to share the same viewpoints as everyone else – but you do have to treat people with courtesy and respect.