Open letter to MPP Sylvia Jones and MP Kyle Seeback

November 25, 2022   ·   0 Comments

In these in-between times, when there is little evidence of open spaces for discussion and dissent, these four years of studied disinterest in hearing from your constituents, it is difficult to be an informed citizen of this province and country. 

As you both know, I write letters.  But they come in waves—interrupted by long silences of despair and self-care.  One journalist, writing about this dysfunctional project called Ontario, suggested that if we were awake to what’s going on, what is being done to us, our response ought to be white hot rage.  But then the question is:  How does one express that rage, that well-informed dissent in ways that can be heard, without adding to the pervasive coarseness that requires shops and banks and grocery stores and transit vehicles and medical facilities to post PLEASE BE NICE TO THE STAFF notices?  Particularly now in these days of lingering covid, of unemployment- and recession-inducing interest rate hikes, of convoys and commissions and the temptations of isolation, incivility, withdrawal, impotence and despair? 

I’ve noticed that letters to my representatives receive two types of response from you.  One is the immediate reply-back:  Thank you for writing, we value your input. But you need to know that we get hundreds of letters everyday.  Translation:  forget any hope that you will hear back from us.  The second response, usually reserved for those times when there is an issue that is getting a lot of airplay (read dissent).  In that case, it’s Thank you for your letter:  you are wrong. 

While the Orangeville Citizen published my open letter to you, Mr Seeback, as well as your response to me, my careful analysis of the latter was not published, giving you the last, unchallenged word.  In the end, my question is, as above, where are the spaces for discussion, spaces populated by concerned citizens wanting to listen, be heard and listened to more frequently than every four years?  In this province where 18% of the electorate put in place in Queen’s Park an effective dictatorship that favours developers and the privileged, without such spaces for citizen engagement with our governors, I fear our choices are few—inarticulate white rage or withdrawal. 

PS:  I’ve just now called your Queen’s Park office, Sylvia, to express my opinion on the appalling Bill 23 and the all-too-typical take-no-prisoners, bulldozing and deceptive approach of this government.  I did not manage to keep the anger out of my voice—with a vote happening this very day.  It’s so easy to slip into why bother?

LeeAnn McKenna

Mono, Ontario

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