Sackville residents protest against forced amalgamation: ‘This is not democratic, this is authoritarian’

Sackville residents protesting at town hall. Photo: Erica Butler, CHMA

About 14 Sackville residents showed up today for a second rally at town hall to protest against the forced amalgamation of the town with Dorchester and three local service districts.

“I’m participating in the rally because I believe in democracy,” said Margaret Ann Capper.

“This is not democratic, this is authoritarian,” she added.

“Why is this being done?” Capper asked. “There’s no explanation for why it’s being done.”

She added that if the province is pushing ahead with municipal reform because it’s in dire financial straits, it should be honest about that.

Anne Miller, who has lived in Sackville for more than 50 years, said she joined the rally to protest against the lack of consultation with local people.

“It was very shocking for it just to be announced like that and we definitely need some consultation on it,” she said.

Miller added that she’s concerned about the way Sackville will be represented on the amalgamated council.

“Sackville has eight councillors right now and it would only have four…and that doesn’t seem right,” she said.

“Sackville and Dorchester seem very separate to me, very distinct and they’re just going to lump them all together.”

‘No say, whatsoever’

Sandy Burnett said he joined the rally to protest against the fact that the province has presented amalgamation as a fait accompli — something done and irreversible before those affected even learn about it.

“The whole idea of community participation has been run over roughshod by Premier Higgs, by his minions along the way and the communities that are being dragged into this have had no say whatsoever,” he added.

Burnett said there may be some administrative advantages to amalgamating the various communities in what the province calls Entity 40.

“But I can’t help but suspect that it’s really more a matter of the province wanting to shift the responsibility for taxation and services to a local level,” he said, adding that Higgs and company are hoping voters will blame municipal governments for raising taxes rather than the province.

‘Ticked off’

Carol Cooke organized the rallies

Sackville resident Carol Cooke said she organized today’s rally and the one yesterday after she read CHMA’s online reports about how key decisions on amalgamation are being made behind closed doors.

“I just got kind of ticked off,” she said.

“They’re rushing it through and they’re probably using their urban planners or something to set up the map boundaries and I said to myself and a couple of friends, ‘You’ve got to do something about this.'”

Cooke said she’s hoping Premier Higgs and facilitator Chad Peters will allow more time for consultation.

“Big picture: consult with the people, slow it down,” she added.

In an e-mail yesterday, Cooke appealed directly to Peters:

Today, Cooke received a two-sentence response from Peters sent from his PR firm Lynwood Strategies advising her to take her concerns to the department of local government:

This entry was posted in NB Municipal Reform, New Brunswick government, Town of Sackville and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Sackville residents protest against forced amalgamation: ‘This is not democratic, this is authoritarian’

  1. Kelly says:

    Funny the same people here likely were against any honking in the residential area of Ottawa and yet they are promoting it next to large apartment buildings.

  2. Wayne Feindel says:

    No need to blame one political party over another. “Policy Goverance” is used to control citizen input. Fake boards have been set up to make you think you have representative government. DEC in Education,Health boards, and now local communties have an ‘advisory capacity.’. As so often, the Gernans have a word for forced mergers. GLEICHALTUNG,meaning forcing a merger of communties. It is extremely upsetting how failed ideas of the Third Reich keeo coming back. Just as a matter of interest it failed because the Mayors of major cities resisted, and there were not enough civil servants. NO MONEY TO BE SAVED. Just a small historical note: the Bill in Germany was entitled the Enabling Act passed in March 1933. The Canadian way is for leaders to clearly defiine their goal for the greater indefinite good and ask the citizens what they need to do it. TAX REFORM for one.

    • Thilo Joerger says:

      Using the word “Gleichschaltung” (note spelling) is probably overkill, in spite of the local seriousness of this matter. It refers to the Nazis’ forced subjugation of all aspects of life, political, social, cultural and economic, under Nazi ideology and rule, in Germany as well as in any territory voluntarily joined (Austria) or militarily conquered. Higgs isn’t quite there yet, just a small time autocrat like many others around the world.

      Too late now, but maybe in the future, proportional voting would avoid such one-party rule.

  3. Kata List Productions says:

    I feel we all need to take a deep breathe, calm down, and re-focus…
    everyone’s been through a lot together here over the past two years.
    Try for unity with the people of our region who are not our enemies…
    please stay peaceful out there folks!

  4. Wayne Feindel says:

    Yes! Stay calm and hide in your basements as you are hit with an a barrage of taxes. There is the hyper sonic bill of $250000 to police the pen. There is a multimillion dolllar need for a new waterwell in Dorchester. $80 000 for an electric generator for the warming centre. I know we are creatures of the province and so on.. I ought to know I have served under too powerful CEO’s embolded by John Carvers “policy Goverance” where councillors are not to be involved in the day to day business of a professional civil service, but if I’m going to make policies and pass laws I need to know what is going on. You do not live in a democracy they want you to believe. . I think we need to gird our loins. If civilian volunter citizen soldiers with a grade eight education could be asked what they needed to do the job at Vimy Rudge, then surely citizens a hundred years later can be trusted. . Remember the five laws of ‘Stupidity’. There are more stupid people in that oligarchy of 17 facilitators then you can imagine. Yes municipal reform is needed, but it is going to be done locally, not with a long handled screwdriver In Fredericton. Otherwise your democracy marches only on paper.

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