LNG applause came from stacked audience


Re: “Local politicians applaud LNG project,” column, Sept. 29.

Les Leyne’s column about the Union of B.C. Municipalities audience’s response to Christy Clark’s speech makes it sound as if local politicians, as a body, approve of the Pacific Northwest LNG proposal. He uses the applause during Clark’s speech as the evidence on which to make this claim.

In the minutes before Clark’s speech, I stood up to leave the room for a break after the morning session, and turned to face the back. It was a wall of dark suits.

There were at least 100 people standing there who had entered the room and were waiting to join the audience. Walking through them, I noticed all but a few were wearing non-delegate badges. These were not local politicians.

The “warm applause” that Leyne writes about is not an indication of how local politicians responded to Clark’s message; it was an indication that the B.C. Liberal Party has a willing cabal of head-nodders willing to stack the room to support their leader. Fill the audience with enough people clapping, and the social norms will induce others to clap politely (if insincerely) as well.

I think it’s important for non-elected delegates to be able to attend UBCM discussions to observe how we work together. They are welcome in our workshops and study sessions, and to listen and watch our policy debate.

However, the media should not imply that when political leaders are giving their speeches, the reaction of the audience is an accurate representation of what local politicians think.

Susan Low


Township of Esquimalt

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