I am a member of North West Watch, a non profit society consisting of citizens interested in a sustainable environment in the North West: learning about it, raising awareness of it, and advocating for it.
Like other non profit groups North West Watch sometimes organizes and hosts fund raising events to support the work it is trying to do.
Your paper recently refused to print a community events notice for one of our activities; an art auction and social event at the local brew house, saying we were a “political” organization and as such would have to pay for space in the paper.
I would respectfully request that you reconsider what you think it is that makes a group “political”.
Would you print a community events notice for a cancer run or an information meeting on LNG, or a fund raiser to support art and culture? What criteria would you use to decide whether these things are “political”?
As you well know, everything in a democracy, from health care to the arts, to protecting the environment has a political aspect. Political parties have positions and priorities in relation to all of them.
Is it a newspaper’s job to discriminate between the issues it wishes to label “political” in effect choosing sides on issues where controversy exists?
Or do you agree with me that it is more appropriate to fairly represent the spectrum of activities in a community, saving the “political” label for groups that actively support one party or another.
The members of North West Watch care passionately about our shared environment in the same way that supporters of the Pacific Northwest Music Festival care about music or the members of Canadian Cancer Society care about cancer research.
I am aware of and worried by the growing trend towards marginalizing individuals and groups that may be seen as obstacles by corporate interests with their own ideas about the environment and its relative value.
If your paper were to fall in line with this pattern instead of continuing with the even handed representation of the community that we have come to know and expect, that would be very disappointing and “political” in the worst sense.
David Bowering, MD. MHSc.,