No is one of the favourite words in the Town of Brome Lake. Whenever a new project is planned, an army of naysayers rise up and objects, often with a great deal of success. The bridges on the walking path delayed for decades; the swimming pool turned down after a public campaign; a mental health centre refused permission to operate after a flawed referendum.
The latest battle is the farce that surrounded the controversy over the development of the Allard golf course in Foster, known now by the developer’s name for it, Faubourg Lac-Brome. Tempo has no view one way or the other on whether the project gets done, but the way it was handled.
First, a group of people against it got enough signatures to force a register. A process that precedes the referendum. Then the developer got enough signatures to cancel the call for a referendum. Both sides would doubtless claim democracy was at work. Nothing could be further from the truth.
We spoke to one Foster resident who voted for both sides, because of what she was told at the door.
“I signed both petitions. The first person said ’We just want more information.’ Then the developer came and said we want people to sign who aren’t against the development. I am not against the development, so I signed that too,” said the woman who asked not to be identified.
When the people going door to door say the right things to get people to sign a petition, the value of the petition is worthless. The same thing happened with the uproar over Nu-Hab, when canvassers stated that the residents of the center had a choice: go to jail or go to Nu-Hab. An outright lie.
The rules for petitions seem ambiguous in the extreme. There has to be a clear question—sound familiar – not questions loaded with false information aimed to elicit the ‘correct’ response.
Our local politicians are reacting to what they perceive as public opinion. In many cases, they are reacting to Fake News.