Our View: Opposition a necessity in politics

Dave Hall has departed the Langley City political scene to take care of his battle with cancer. We wish him well and hope for a full recovery, and perhaps an eventual return to public life.

Hall spent nine years on the Langley School District Board of Education, and was in his third term on the City council.

In party politics, it’s usually clear which side is the loyal opposition. In civic politics, there aren’t handy party labels, but it usually becomes clear soon enough.

Hall was one of Langley City’s opposition politicians, debating the rest of the council on issues from the budget to local development projects to parking.

It should be noted that he did not simply oppose things for the sake of opposing them. Go through the votes of City council or school board during Hall’s tenure and you will find many times when he voted with the majority. When he was school board chair, he was sometimes the voice of moderation, guiding an often-divided board to the discovery of a consensus.

When there is a consensus – as there often is in local politics – anyone who goes against that consensus can be seen as an annoyance at best, an enemy at worst. But it’s obvious that principled opposition is necessary in any system.

We have a long and proud history of opposition in Langley civic politics. Sometimes an entire council would find itself in opposition to a mayor. Sometimes actual party politics have been involved – in the 1990s, the Langley Leadership Team scrapped with three feisty independents on Township council. That opposition was in some ways so successful that it killed party politics for years.

We value opposition because without it there is no one to raise questions, to suggest alternative courses of action, to act as a brake.

So we hope that Dave Hall recovers and can return to the public square. If he stays on the sidelines, the upcoming byelection will give a chance for voters to find another principled opponent.

– M.C.

 

 

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