Local autonomy trumps provincial adjudication

Give the people involved more power to solve neighbourhood problems

Re: More bureaucracy is not the answer (Our View, Feb. 27)

As mentioned in the editorial, the Community Safety Act is, at its core, looking to deal with problems that are unquestionably present, persistent and affecting the quality of life for neighbourhood residents. The aim is fair, but the process is not, thus the outcome will indubitably lead to further frustration and a backlog of cases.

The suggestion in the editorial is to take the power away from an outside agency (in this case, provincial) and help “people on the ground,” namely police, and municipal officers. I would take this suggestion a step further and propose that the people involved receive the help more directly.

Too often crimes, complaints and investigations start off with a purpose of helping the people in the thick of it, and wind up becoming a discussion of who has the right to help. Why can’t we put the decision-making back into the hands of those who will live with the consequences?

Rather than suggesting a provincial unit take the steps to solve the problem, as an adjudicator would, we should guide the affected parties in their own processes of neighbourhood revitalization. There are organizations and individuals in Victoria who work with the sole purpose of facilitating difficult discussions and addressing harm in restorative manners. Why does the funding not travel in their direction?

No one is questioning the legitimacy of the complaints and the serious harm that is being caused in these neighbourhoods; however, I believe we should start questioning how we address these harms.

Politicians have the power to change things, and maybe they should start sharing that power with people in the neighbourhoods they are supposed to be serving.

Anna Press


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