Since the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce survey statistics debate surrounding its on-line survey in relation to Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline project seems to want to persist as a story, I would like to add some perspective.
The primary point that has been missed is that this was a poll of the chamber membership, not the community as a whole.
The problem here is not really statistics, it is the message.
But first let’s talk about statistics. Our sitting city councillors were elected by a range of approximately 18 per cent to a low of 10 per cent of the eligible voters. The whole city council was elected by a turnout of 27.9 per cent of the eligible voters. Does this make them statistically irrelevant? No. It means they were elected by the few people of Terrace who took the time to come out to vote.
This council then proclaimed, on behalf of Terrace, that they did not support the Northern Gateway project.
Now let’s talk about the message. The only voice business has in the community is the Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce. As we all know, businesses do not have a vote. The chamber, by polling their members, gave them an opportunity to have their voices heard.
Those who took the time to respond deserve to be heard, just like those who took the time to vote deserve to have their votes recognized.
The problem arises because of the result of the poll which said that some of the business community in Terrace actually support the Northern Gateway Project. Rather than listening to this message some city council members proceeded to try to denigrate the messenger by attacking the methodology of the survey.
The Terrace and District Chamber of Commerce is to be commended for giving the business community an opportunity to voice their views. It should have been an opportunity then for council to respectfully listen to this very critical component of the taxpaying constituency of Terrace.
Would it not be more productive for council and chamber to meet and find their areas of common interest in the development of the future of Terrace? The challenges ahead of us are daunting and we should be working together.
Janice Shaben, President,
Terrace & District Chamber of Commerce,