The following response was submitted to Chatham This Week regarding a letter to the editor by John Cryderman which appeared on November 22nd. In it, Mr. Cryderman criticized Councillor-elect Steve Pickard for questioning Mayor-elect Hope's trip to Korea. Cryderman wanted Pickard to sing with the rest of the choir and not make solo statements. The irony of his words prompted this reply:
As a choir director, I feel qualified to reply to Mr. Cryderman's recently printed lecture scolding Councillor-elect Steve Pickard for not singing his tune. The one thing worse than a choir member off key is somebody in the audience heckling and waving their hands wildly trying to direct everything from their seat.
Mr. Cryderman seems to think he's somehow qualified enough to critique anyone on council who doesn't follow his direction, and if he perceives someone isn't going to, he lashes out at them in the media. If Randy Hope, as a private citizen, "doesn't have to answer to anyone," for his trip to Korea, then why does Steve Pickard have to answer to John Cryderman for rightly criticizing it?
It's very interesting how Mr. Cryderman was strongly opposed to Mayor Gagner's trips to Korea, but it's suddenly undemocratic to question Mayor-elect Hope's motives, even when all the evidence suggests he failed to acquaint himself with the several years of effort this municipality has already put into cultivating a business relationship with that country before he flew over. Did he spend hours with municipal, provincial and federal officials briefing himself on the facts, or did he just take somebody else's word on everything? We can only hope he didn't step in any of the pitfalls waiting for him over there, or we could all end up paying. Anyone with the slightest awareness of Korean business culture would realize that favours are expected when they pick up all the expenses for a trip.
Sounds to us like the reckless approach of a bull in a china shop was taken - very much a solo effort! John -- Please! -- if you feel the need to apply judgments to a situation, at least be consistent.
Randy Hope stated his intention to, "Open Chatham-Kent up for business," so let's not pretend this was a personal venture. If Hope planned this trip last February as suggested, then recent news stories involving Korea which gave Hope the momentum to defeat Mayor Gagner should be investigated very closely.
Mr. Cryderman stated that Steve Pickard is still a private citizen and shouldn't be allowed to express an opinion until he's sworn in, but once on council it was implied that he's to refrain from asking certain questions expected of him by the public. Mr. Pickard is headed to a council where he will be under intense pressure to present the views of a select few private citizens who like to control things, sometimes subvertly, sometimes stooping low enough to distort facts and destroy friendships in the process. A council member represents everyone, not just those who write letters to the editor or take out the most advertising.
At least council members attribute their views, unlike some people who hide behind secret coalitions in an attempt to claim credibility falsely while deflecting legal responsibility when promoting or defending their apparently seditious views.
We strongly suspect that when all the facts are presented over Randy Hope's trip to Korea, and the setup preceding it, there will be a concert of voices singing in unison in this community for the new mayor and council to make sure they're following the right director - the people. The public should wisely question why some unelected individuals seem to think the mayor and council should only be singing the songs they write.