One of the primary roles of the press in society is not only to report the news of issues and events that concern the public at large, but to hold our democratically-elected officials to account for what they do and say.
An issue arose at the recent city council meeting, that of where the STC bus terminal should go, and I was bothered by how it was handled - but it was only partially the fault of the council; I was bothered more by the members of the public who approached them.
Now, the electorate in general decide how they're going to vote in elections based on the candidates put in front of them, and many factors weigh on that decision.
This is usually the extent of the electorate's duty insofar as the democratic system works; of course, along the way, as issues arise you hope to bend the ear of those you've elected in the hopes they will make the right decisions, ie., how you want them to be made.
This is, of course, not really possible or feasible; when you have a group of individuals working together in a governing council, their own thoughts and feelings and decisions come into play, and they will decide individually or as a group how they're going to act - and it isn't always going to be to the liking of the electorate. That's just how it is.
One aspect of local government I object to, and will always object to on the grounds of principle (namely that we as the public have the right to know) is the tendency of boards and councils to hold their discussions on issues behind closed doors, and then make a pretense of democracy by coming out and voting in public, after all the reasons have been presented.
This is, in my opinion, an offence against democracy, and this time it was a group of unelected people who caused the offence. They wanted to discuss the issue of the STC bus terminal, proposed for the Co-op food store, to be behind closed doors. This was wrong, and it was absolutely wrong for council to go along with it. This violated the freedom of the press and it violated the public's right to know, and council just went along with it.
Now, to be fair, some of the councillors did offer their opinions in public, which only partially mitigated the error, and they voted unanimously to reject the proposal; my point still stands. The group of people were bringing up an issue that affects the public at large, namely where the STC terminal will go; they had no right to go behind closed doors.