WENTWORTH CREEK, N.S. — As discussions continue on consolidating Windsor and West Hants into one municipal unit, citizens are being reminded to choose their words more carefully.
Coun. Tanya Leopold issued an anti-bullying statement during West Hant council’s Nov. 13 meeting in an effort to address “various intimidation tactics” that are used in society.
“We have seen it in international politics, in sport, in the entertainment industry, in workplaces, school yards and social circles. Unfortunately I have experienced it in my lifetime. Recently I have experienced it as a female councillor. The fact is, it exists,” said Leopold.
“There are individuals and groups in every community, in our own community, that use this style of interaction,” she continued.
“It is because of one’s stature, financial status, religion, political affiliation, racial background, culture, gender and/or sexual orientation that they think they can marginalize others for theirs. This is wrong.”
Leopold said her mother raised her to be a strong woman and to speak up for herself, and others. As such, she felt she needed to address the bullying that has been happening in the area.
In a follow-up interview, Leopold said she felt compelled to address the issue after attending the various community hall meetings that have been taking place throughout the county.
“We, as a council, have been more engaged than usual with citizens, certainly engaging on a contentious issue at that — with talks of consolidation,” she said.
Leopold has attended all of the meetings held to date on the subject of consolidation. She said people are passionate about the topic, but some are taking it too far and are being disrespectful, abrasive and rude. She wants people to realize bullying doesn’t just happen to children — adults can be bullied as well.
“In my personal opinion, when you’re emotional, sometimes you forget to be logical. If I could get people to pause and think about it for a minute (before speaking) then maybe everyone would experience less hatefulness and less harm,” she said.
There are still two meetings left in this round of public consultation meetings: Three Mile Plains Hall — Nov. 20, 6:30 p.m.; Hantsport Baptist Church — Nov. 22, 7 p.m.
The Town of Windsor is also hosting a public information meeting early in the consolidation process. The meeting, on Nov. 19 at 7 p.m., will be held at the Hants County War Memorial Community Centre in Windsor.
All of these meetings are open to the public.
Leopold’s closing message at council was this: “I ask that you be kind; think twice before you speak harmful words and before you spread hatefulness.”