LETTER: Why is council strangling debate?

To the Editor,
Re: County denies public health nurses’ request to speak at Council

I am both heartbroken and scared at the news that Prince Edward County Council would not hear a deputation from our Public Health nurses. Heartbroken because I believe we all owe these workers a debt of gratitude for what they do for us, not least during the Pandemic.

Nurses who worked risked their lives from COVID, while most of us were able to stay home and shelter until vaccines were made available. Nurses didn’t get pay equity with their counterparts in fire and police departments. I want to hear what they have to say about problems at our Public Health agency, from their perspective, and a Council meeting was a good place to start.

What scares me is the attack on democracy that occurred when Council decided not to listen to what the Public Health nurses have to say. Surely a strength of democracy is free speech and democratically elected councillors who are there to listen to all sides and make decisions. If  Public Health Board members who are also councillors think there is a conflict of interest, then declare that and don’t participate. I’m not sure they do have a conflict.

When you sit on a board, you only hear the management’s version of events. Surely a councillor would welcome the opportunity to hear the other side of the story. Otherwise, how do we ever see agreements reached?

Finally, why am I hearing County spokesperson Mark Kerr on why our County has chosen to strangle debate? Where is the Mayor? Where are our councillors?

Irene Harris