Niagara-on-the-Lake might be the prettiest town in Canada, but if it were to be judged based on the conduct of some residents at Monday night’s council meeting, it might also win the title of rudest.
During a special meeting at the Community Centre which saw around 300 people show up — some to take a stand against the controversial Randwood development — a local farm owner named Renee Delaney made a presentation to councillors, encouraging the town to become the next “Bee City” in the region.
For her efforts, she was heckled by a crowd of grown adults after her presentation went past the 10-minute time limit.
To give a quick rundown, “Bee Cities” promote pollinator bee populations through various initiatives including species protection, planting gardens and education.
In short, her presentation had nothing to do with Randwood.
It was also not the first time Delaney has given the presentation to a municipal council. NOTL would be the third Niagara municipality to become a Bee City.
Regardless, during her presentation Monday, many in the NOTL crowd berated her by shouting obscenities, attempting to clap her off the podium, and showing a general lack of respect for her and the procedures of council.
I can’t speak to why any adult would act in such a manner, though what I can say is: of the three times I’ve now seen her presentation, not once did she receive the same lack of courtesy she did Monday night.
Whoever was booing Delaney should be ashamed of themselves.
The fact that residents in attendance were clearly unhappy with council regarding Randwood is no excuse to tear down a citizen who is speaking to council. Those who take a stand for what they believe in deserve a chance to speak, regardless if we agree with them or not.
Not to mention, for the average citizen it isn’t easy to address council on any given day — let alone with an audience of that size behind them.
I feel the need to remind people of the golden rule.
Sure, the presentation may have dragged on a bit long. Sure, the 10-minute timer buzzed. And sure, some people might not have agreed with what she was saying.
But is there no respect for decorum?
Further than that, is there no compassion?
This is Canada, and whether you agreed with Delaney's message or not; whether you thought she went on too long; or whether you were just concerned about getting home to watch the Leafs, our government council meetings deserve more respect than that.
And so does an innocent woman who is striving towards something she believes in.