Democracy works best with transparency.
Keeping the public apprised of how our elected officials vote on our behalf is a fundamental principle of good governance.
A recent vote by Thompson-Nicola Regional District directors has displayed a disappointing lack of belief in enhancing transparency and openness in government.
As a Kamloops resident affected by some of the decisions made by TNRD directors, the recent decision to strongly reject Area P director Mel Rothenburger’s motion — designed to find a solution to have the votes of our TNRD representatives recorded for the public record — is troubling.
A majority of TNRD directors have shown a disregard for greater public insight by defeating a motion to explore a cost-effective solution to establish a public record on how individual TNRD directors are voting on issues that matter to their constituents.
The TNRD allows the public and media to attend and observe its monthly public meetings, but there is no record of how particular representatives are voting.
It is incumbent upon individual directors to request their vote be recorded for the public record after every vote. This is not a very efficient option and it is rarely exercised by TNRD directors.
That there is no voting record is simply unacceptable and bewildering, given the technology to record the votes of 26 or more elected officials has been available for some time.
The TNRD board’s defeat of Rothenburger’s reasonable attempt for greater transparency and openness, by establishing a voting record of decisions made by individual TNRD directors, is a slap in the face to citizens living in our regional district.
Providing the public access to the voting record of our elected officials is a cornerstone of democracy, which allows us the opportunity to scrutinize the activities of our public servants to ensure citizens can assess whether their elected representatives are acting in their best interests.
Secrecy is not good for democracy.
Editor’s note: Denis Walsh is a Kamloops councillor.