Herewith a statement by Terry Mokriy, formerly a council candidate and now a Grey Highlands Council member who got top votes out of all 14 candidates running.
We feel it is well worth sharing as his comments are particularly appropriate given what many have all felt and experienced over the past 10 to 12 years.
Below is Terry’s statement in full:
“Years of experience in government and public service arenas have left an indelible mark on my world view and psyche.
Federally, I was the Youth, Education, and Ontario Chair for a cross Canada national council dealing with Multiculturalism. We reported directly, and made recommendations, to the Federal Minister of Multiculturalism. I had the opportunity to travel across Canada and meet, conference with, and listen to many groups and individuals. Our mandate was to make recommendations to the Minister and Cabinet. I also wrote and delivered speeches for, and on behalf of, the Minister. That was my first foray into political and bureaucratic frustration.
I have also served as a Federal Riding Association President, Canvass Chair, Campaign Chair, and Treasurer of a GTA wide political association comprised of some 63 ridings. I had the chance to work with, support and meet a wide range of politicians and politicos, some who were movers and shakers and some not.
At the provincial level, I was actively involved as a Campaign Chair, advisor to elected politicians, campaign strategist, and speech and pamphlet writer.
That being said these experiences have led me to my present state. I consider myself to be philosophically and politically a realist with, what could be considered, strong populist tendencies. That is why I volunteered to help establish and Chair the South East Grey Community Health Centre in Markdale. I believe in, what the Americans refer to as, “government for the people”. That is not what the current trends appear to be.
Today’s governments, especially at the political party levels, often times seem to serve, not the electorate, but their own interests. This trend has been years in its development. I witnessed it in Ottawa when bureaucratic and party priorities took precedence over the obvious needs, concerns and wishes of the people.
The past provincial government of Ontario took this self interest to its zenith. We need not discuss the examples for they are obvious.
It is now even harder not to become more cynical vis a vis political institutions which are increasingly less interested in the “common good” and more in political and party expedience. Government is supposed to be for the people and is supposed to aid, provide for and assist. It is to expedite a common quality of life and ease the experience of the community. Instead, it has become more and more intrusive, invasive and dictatorial, taking into account vested interests and hidden political and personal agendas.
The Municipal level of government has, willingly or not, become the last bastion of true democracy. It is the place where people can directly interact with government. It is the arena in which the democratic principals of “what is right for the people” can still hold sway.
We can and must continue to involve ourselves and participate. We must not fall into apathy or complacency for that will be the death knell of democracy. That apathy can take the form of simply agreeing to, ignoring, or accepting without question. We need to stop simply shrugging our shoulders saying, “What can I do about it? The decision has already been made”.
I have witnessed government, both political and bureaucratic, in action. I have seen how decisions are made and what influence personal, party and political agendas have in the process and the outcomes. People, individuals and groups, make decisions and people, individuals and groups, must continue to question and challenge those decisions.
We must continue to ask the question, “Why?” If there is no reasonable answer forthcoming then we should not simply acquiesce because, “They said so!”.
If there is no one to question and to challenge then there truly is no democracy.”