09 Dec CBRM’s war on young people — a different view
Grad student, cultural activist, and entrepreneur Mike Targett writes:
I appreciate a lot of Jay Macneil’s general complaint. I’ve made similar ones about decision-makers not trying hard enough to make this place more livable, and even actively trying to make it less livable. I can even be pretty cynical about council at times. Maybe that cynicism is what made me think twice about this vote, since Morgan the populist voted with Kim Deveaux the radical. Curious.
Did Morgan vote for what he knew would be the popular sentiment (“All he wanted to do was dance!”) despite testimony from the Chief of Police that the dances were phenomenally unsafe? But that’s not all council voted on. There were two motions put forward on Tuesday, and it’s the second one that MacNeil ignores in his rant:
- Councillor Derek Mombourquette brought the motion to council to ban the dances, not because he hates young people (he practically is one), but because the Chief of Police told him the dances were a danger to the kids who attend and the police could no longer ensure their safety. I suspect that, after this police testimony, council probably couldn’t continue to allow the dances at municipally-owned buildings, as such, without being liable for what goes on. (Maybe why the schools stopped holding the dances in the first place.)
- Council then agreed to put resources into a committee made up of police, schools, decision-makers, and kids themselves, to come up with a way to create a safe environment for kids to have fun. (Or, I suppose, more realistically: ways to provide a reasonably safe environment.)
So if you take  and  together, council didn’t really ‘ban’ dances at this venue, they only suspended the dances until those dances can be made safe(r) for the kids who attend.
The schools, on the other hand, seem to believe the dances themselves were the problem… rather than alcohol, drugs, and violence being the problem. The schools seem to have said, ‘Ban dances, problem solved.’
All the schools solved was their own problem of liability. Whereas, if we give council the benefit of the doubt (I can’t believe I’m saying that), what they’re really saying is that the problem goes beyond the dances themselves, and that creating a safe and fun atmosphere for kids is the responsibility of the community (and should be a priority of the community).
So the community — especially the “people in this community who spend their entire day trying to find ways to inspire and engage the youth of their community” — should get behind the new committee  instead of blaming council for doing what they (likely) had to .