Editorial: Debate, don’t hate

Protest is core to democracy, personal attacks not so much

The amount of hatred spewed online before, and after, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Penticton stood in stark contrast to the massive turnout in Gyro Park Monday.

Nor was everybody there a red-shirted liberal; there were a number exercising their right to protest the actions of the federal Liberals, holding up signs, making their opinion clear.

What there wasn’t was anyone trying to spit in the prime minister’s face, pour oil on him, throw rotten fruit or any of the other uncivilized actions threatened on social media.

It’s a good thing to disagree with our political overlords and their policies. Keeping a close eye on what government — from local to federal — is doing and making sure they know when the population doesn’t approve is part of participating in the democratic process.

A good example of that working was when Penticton city council was forced to cancel the Skaha Lake Park lease deal and water slides. That was directly the result of people coming together and making it clear the community didn’t support the project.

But attacking the person, whether physically as some threatened or verbally as the majority of the negative comments did about Trudeau online, doesn’t lead to change for the better.

Damn Trudeau for breaking the Liberal promise on electoral reform, sure. For taking too long on legalizing marijuana, okay, though that was never going to happen overnight. Make your feelings clear about any political decision.

Debate in a political forum is how our society grows. But just expressing hatred is meaningless. We have to wonder if those that feel compelled to swear at one political leader or another even understand the issues; or do they just think it’s cool to be a bandwagon jumper?

Thankfully, none of these ever-so-concerned people was actually concerned enough to show up and ruin Penticton’s B.C. Day celebration.

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