Mustafa is right when it comes the Magna Carta. It was a premise that empowered the people to move out of the dark ages into an age of enlightenment. Where the majority sets the rule of society and of a democracy. Unfortunately for Mustafa, he wasn’t here. So he didn’t see how Ponoka was in a parallel time, a time before Magna Carta. In Ponoka, a petition was signed by over 600 people against the bylaw. On the town website, the few that did take the time to fill out the questionnaire didn’t leave names but did go half and half for and against. At a public meeting just one man stood up to say he was in favor of the bylaw, out of some 20 people who were there. The Chamber of commerce voted against it in an open vote for all members.
In spite of all the opposition, four on council, voted against the majority townspeople for a bylaw that still has people scratching their heads. Mustafa agrees with that. He believes democracy is not in our best interest. (But he wants to have a debate on that later.) Mustafa believes it is far better to have few making all the decisions for the majority, because we cannot make the decisions for ourselves. The one thing Mustafa does not believe in, is democracy in its purest sense. Majority rules.
Editor’s note: Just to set the record straight and to refresh memories:
• The petition signed by 600 people was launched by two businesses that were against the bylaw and the signatories included quite a number of visitors to the town from Hobbema and the county. Even if this is disregarded, the Town of Ponoka has a registry of more than 5000 eligible voters and 600 signatories, even if they are all from the Town of Ponoka, do not constitute a majority;
• The Chamber of Commerce never took a vote on the issue;
• At the public meeting, one man stood up to say he was in favor of the bylaw, but no one from the public said s/he was against it with the exclusion of the liquor business owners who are a party to the dispute; • And finally, in Ponoka (and in Canada in a broader context) bylaws (and laws) are voted on by the legislative representatives elected by the voters, unlike in Switzerland, where either the federal government or a canton may take a piece of legislation directly to the electorate to decide on it through a plebiscite. Our system of government does not provide for electorate voting on individual pieces of legislation. Therefore, the vote in the council, taken by the elected officials, which resulted in four votes in favor against the three opposed, a simple majority, was legitimate and perfectly fit the requirements of the legislative process in place.