Wednesday, June 03, 2009

A partial retraction

On a previous post, "SCANning the flames of open-mindedness", I talked about how I responded by e-mail to the following extract from a draft set of community association minutes:

From the minutes: "[Person] reported on the anti-SCAN meeting at the library where an NDP MPP from Toronto made disparaging remarks about SCAN and neighbourhood watch groups."
With the following comment:

From RG: "I'm quite concerned at this summary of the SCAN meeting. Whatever 'disparaging remarks' might have been made by an MPP from Toronto (boo hoo), there were legitimate concerns raised by the organizers of the meeting about the negative consequences of SCAN legislation which do not seem to have been raised in this report. ...
It was brought to my attention tonight that my "boo hoo" comment was overly broad.

It seems that I overlooked the fact that "disparaging remarks about SCAN and neighbourhood watch groups" can be parsed to "disparaging remarks about SCAN" and "disparaging remarks about neighbourhood watch groups".

Due to my focus on SCAN (and my concern that the minutes extract did not seem to discuss SCAN at all), I saw the whole sentence as being the first interpretation ("...about SCAN"), and concluded that disparaging remarks about legislation is irrelevant, since legislation doesn't have feelings.

It turns out that the remarks referenced in the minutes which where of concern to [Person] were comments by Toronto-area NDP MPP Cheri Di Novo equating the pro-SCAN people (i.e. those encapsulated by the minutes' phrase "neighbourhood watch groups") to Stasi, and [Person] felt it to be very inappropriate, especially coming from an MPP like Ms. Di Novo.

[Person] felt that this type of "Stasi" reference is a bullying type of comment that keeps people from being involved in discussions, and while I'm the type of person who generally ignores insults directed at me when not relevant to the discussion, I agree with her clarified comment: name-calling, especially by an MPP, is not productive to a conversation. (I'm still not sure if it's relevant to an Ottawa community association, but it's an insult nonetheless)

Furthermore, I'm glad I qualified my comments in the same blog entry when I wrote:

The complaints made by [person] are very similar to the common accusation of not being "open-minded". I fully admit that this person did NOT say anything to that effect.


While, again, [person] didn't accuse me of being close-minded, she seems to use the very same arguments and techniques explained in the video:


In fact, after watching that video, I can confidently claim that [person] is being close-minded, and I'd love to see her prove otherwise.
And [person] did indeed prove otherwise.

I'm glad that she approached me so that I could better understand her position.

(Now if only someone can do the same thing about SCAN!)

Also, it turns out the community association did vote to support SCAN, however this was two years ago, so it therefore could only have been in principle, and not the specific legislation presented by Yasir Naqvi. I could (and plan to) reopen the question of the association's support of SCAN based on its negative side-effects. The association amended the minutes to clarify "that the discussion about the anti-SCAN meeting was not presented as a detailed or official report of that event."

- RG>

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