CentreVenture CEO Ross McGowan responded to comments I made on this blog in successive posts on February 16 and 18 that were republished in the Winnipeg Free Press shortly thereafter.
I'm pleased he chose to respond to the comments I made. I'm pleased he took the time to clarify and defend his position. I trust him to be genuine in his assertion that "Centreventure's door is always open and participation in productive dialogue can only make downtown a better place for all. Your feedback is welcomed and appreciated."
He feels his comments have been taken out of context. I disagree. I feel his comments were inappropriate, his analogy was too simplistic and his words were poorly chosen. That's it, that's all.
Mr. McGowan's intention was to communicate the importance of personal responsibility.
"There is an expectation that as a society we are responsible for our own behaviour and there is a personal code of conduct that defines the boundaries of acceptable behaviour that comes with being a member of society."
I don't disagree with him that each of us is responsible for respecting the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. I would place more emphasis on collective responsibility and the role that communities play (or have failed to play) in developing the skills, values and knowledge we all need to in order to thrive in society. Unfortunately, social problems are exactly that -- social. It is not simply a question of personal choice.
"It takes a village to raise a child." "There is no such thing as a self-made man." I hold these to be true. Whether one grows up to succeed or to struggle is largely (though not exclusively) dependent on the support they have or have not received from their community. Some of us learn to make it on our own. Many of us continue to need support. I feel that as a community we need to offer more support.
Though we would likely disagree on a few fronts, I don't think what Ross McGowan wants for the downtown is all that much different from what I want for it. The challenge is that the social ills we're talking about are complex. …