By Dean Midyette
The video of the fawn being culled in Cranbrook is making its rounds on social media and has been posted on YouTube. Regardless of how we individually feel about dealing with urban deer, we also need to look at the political process through which these decisions are made.
In Cranbrook, the decision to implement a cull was made by their city council in-camera. This means it is out of the public eye and those privy to the process of making the decision are bound by privilege and cannot, under threat of legal action, disclose any information regarding the decision unless the council votes to move the issue into the public realm. Cranbrook has had issues in the past during culls with clover traps being damaged and property owners who have allowed access to their property being harassed.
In-camera meetings are an important part of the political process. They can be called when discussing any of the Three Ls; land, legal or labour. For example, if a municipality is considering the purchase of property, those discussions need to take place behind closed doors as disclosing the potential purchase could negatively affect the negotiations.
In Invermere, council chose to hold meetings regarding a potential cull in open forums. The issue is divisive and emotions ran high during discussions. Our elected officials were subjected to unkind comments and criticism but in the end we knew where they stood. While you may not agree with the outcome, Mr. Taft and council deserves our respect for ensuring the process was open and transparent which is the way we expect our democracy to work.