Posts Tagged ‘legislation’

Hello, neighbours…

It is a privilege to have an opportunity to stand before you this evening, once again to offer to serve you as a Councillor in the Village of Anmore. Many of you have come to know that I am a passionate advocate…for individuals, for the environment, for sustainability, for the ARTS, for this Village and for the Tri-City region.

There is no us and them. That is an illusion. There are only people – some with a more generous spirit than others. This can be observed in small, every-day behaviours. You can see it in how they interact with a child or with nature. You can see it in the things they choose to do with their time. When you choose someone to lead your country or your province or your village, what do you want? A kind person? An honest person? A person who does not just promise to do her best but shows it every day? A person who demonstrates true kindness of spirit? A person with a strong work ethic? A person who can suspend judgment?  A person who can truly listen and does so? A person who will not be bullied? I offer you these, my good qualities – and more because I KNOW…

Such a person will bring to the COUNCIL table your interests, always. You can trust that selfishness, greed and power will not be on MY agenda.

It is certainly helpful if your leader can understand easily the workings of government, and I have studied hard over the years. Yet I put it to you: it is equally important to bring questions to the table.

The candidates here before you this evening have worked hard – to promise you the same promises I have seen on campaign literature over the last three elections. If you peruse my handouts, mail-outs and websites, you will see that financial accountability, environmental protection and community planning are important to me as well. The difference I can offer you – is my community record of committee work, consensus-building and advocacy.

I am here for you –  and I am here for Anmore. On election day, vote for ELAINE WILLIS.

 

My tenant and sometime attendant, Geoff, provided the salient points from a book he was reading entitled  Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns. For those who suffer from depression, Dr. Burns identified what he saw as the root cause…twisted thinking. I see twisted thinking as a manifestation of the modern world; too much time for thinking perhaps? Dr. Burns identified ten categories of twisted thinking. When I first saw them, I quickly summarized them and shuffled them off by email to everyone I thought would take the time to read them. Brilliant work, Dr. Burns! If intelligent modern humans can recognize their twisted thinking, they can surely alter the course of their thoughts.

Then there is Groupthink…

Groupthink is also a pathology, much as the depression that is linked to the twisted thinking identified by Burns. Some of those appearing below influence the situation surrounding the politics of our tiny village.

Irving Janis devised some symptoms indicative of groupthink (1977).

  1. Illusions of invulnerability creating excessive optimism and encouraging risk taking.
  2. Rationalizing warnings that might challenge the group’s assumptions.
  3. Unquestioned belief in the morality of the group, causing members to ignore the consequences of their actions.
  4. Stereotyping those who are opposed to the group as weak, evil, biased, spiteful, disfigured, impotent, or stupid.
  5. Direct pressure to conform placed on any member who questions the group, couched in terms of “disloyalty”.
  6. Self censorship of ideas that deviate from the apparent group consensus.
  7. Illusions of unanimity among group members, silence is viewed as agreement.
  8. Mind guards — self-appointed members who shield the group from dissenting information.

Groupthink, resulting from the symptoms listed above, results in defective decision making. That is, consensus-driven decisions are the result of the following practices of groupthinking

  1. Incomplete survey of alternatives
  2. Incomplete survey of objectives
  3. Failure to examine risks of preferred choice
  4. Failure to reevaluate previously rejected alternatives
  5. Poor information search
  6. Selection bias in collecting information
  7. Failure to work out contingency plans.

Twisted Thinking – Burns – the individual’s view

  1. All-or-nothing thinking… look at everything in all-or-nothing terms.
  2. Over generalisation… view a negative event as a never-ending pattern of defeat.
  3. Mental filter… dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives.
  4. Discounting the positives… insist that accomplishments or positive qualities ‘don’t count’.
  5. Jumping to conclusions…
  6. bullet Mind reading – you think you know what others are thinking
    bullet Fortune-telling- you know what will happen and you know it will be a bad outcome

  7. Magnification or minimalization… blow up things out of proportion or  shrink their importance inappropriately.
  8. Emotional reasoning… You reason from how you feel:  “I feel like an idiot, so I really must be one.” or “I don’t feel like doing this so I’ll put it off.”
  9. Should statements… You criticise yourself to other people with ‘shoulds’ or ‘shouldn’ts’.  ‘Musts’, ‘oughts’ and ‘have-tos’ are similar offenders.
  10. Labelling… using words like “loser”, “troublemaker”, rather than saying the person made a mistake
  11. Personalisation and blame… You blame yourself for something you weren’t entirely responsible for, or you blame other people and overlook ways that your own attributes and behaviour might contribute to a problem.

Combine these two flawed thought processes and there is a cauldron of trouble. The individual works on the twisted forms of thinking and brings them to Groupthink as truths. Information is not gathered, assumptions are not challenged, an illusion of unanimity is created by a vocal few.

Can awareness that these are the processes taking place steer our tiny ship in a new direction? I often comment that the population of our village is no larger than many strata corporations. yet we are a municipality with many responsibilities and important decisions to make. When we abandon twisted thinking and Groupthink we may actually move forward in positive ways. I am ever hopeful.

As we work to make people in British Columbia a little more conscious of the pollution of airspace with fragrance and other harmful associated chemicals, the anti-smoking lobby continues with its fight. Many people think the smoking crackdown has been a complete success and it is a battle won. NOT SO!

In what perhaps should be a provincial responsibility, municipalities are left to determine smoking standards such as buffer zones, or how far away one must be from public doorways, windows and air intakes while smoking. Our provincial health authority is urging municipalities to increase the standard from 3 metres to 7.5 metres. So far only Anmore, Belcarra and Port Moody have done so in the Tri-Cities. Port Coquitlam turned down the request citing it as a provincial responsibility.

I follow this news closely. Anmore now has a scent-free municipal hall. Recognizing harmful chemicals in indoor air is progressive and I don’t see leadership on this issue from our provincial government…YET!