Last week’s Council meeting left many of us in the gallery shaking our heads at the motion Councillor David Pattison made to financially support Safe Grad with public money. It was defeated 3-1 because the remaining members of Council had the good sense to realize what a boneheaded idea it was.
Like Pattison, the rest of Council think the concept of Safe Grad, where grads are bussed to an undisclosed location to cut loose after the grad, dinner and dance, is a good one in that there is chaperoning involved and a straight-as-an-arrow driver to get everyone back to their final destination safely. The difference was only Pattison thought it should be funded from the public teat.
Although the councillor was only looking to pony up $250 of public money to do it, it is still a $250 investment in what will inevitably be an event at which a bit of underage drinking will occur. It is still a $250 investment in an event that is a private party. It is still a $250 investment into a private event where some underage drinking may occur and through which the Town opens itself as a possible defendant in a lawsuit if the thing goes pear shaped.
And it is in that last one that Pattison’s motion is truly boneheaded because we expect our elected officials to have some understanding of the kinds of stuff that could and could not cost the taxpayer bags and bags of money down the road.
Like any Council decision, there are those who think it was correct and there are those who think it is an outrageous denial of a fundamental public right.
We’ve heard from some who feel Council’s denial of $250 for Safe Grad is somehow tantamount to Council preferring dead graduates on our roads. Ridiculous. The community is full of personal responsibility issues that are not municipally funded. Children ride through the community on their bikes without bike helmets all the time. Should Council vote in favour of paying for bike helmets because parents are too stupid to tell their children to wear them and to make sure they do?
Council’s decision to nix the funding request was correct for a number of reasons. Their decision to deny Pattison’s motion is no more opposition to Safe Grad than failing to put a can of peas in the food bank box is a signal you want the needy to starve to death.
The parent committee is looking to do what they see as the right thing by their kids – fundraising for a Safe Grad event. Council was one stop on the fundraising journey. There will be others.
Absolutely no fault should be found in the request being made. But it is troubling that some members of Council see it fit to just make motions without first researching what is being requested and what that could mean to the community beyond the $250 being offered up.
We hope the motion was merely a matter of not thinking the matter through or not being willing to find less direct ways for Council to be supportive of Safe Grad. Many of those graduating this summer will be old enough to vote in the municipal election in the fall. We’d hope a member of Council would not be so shallow as to try and win the youth vote by trying to be one of the cool kids. That way lays the road to futility. Our students are too smart for that kind of game. They tend to be more cynical than even reporters.