There was no lack of support for the idea of an inclusion statement being developed for Cochrane, but councillors found the original motion of Councillor Marni Fedeyko was too vague and open-ended.
Instead, they agreed to a more specific motion to allow town staff to study the issue and bring it back in January. Administration will research what could possibly included in the inclusion statement and bylaw, and how it would impact activities and programs of the town.
Fedeyko said now is the time to continue the conversation, and wants more than just a blanket inclusion statement to gather dust on the shelf.
She was disappointed with some of the public feedback received since bringing the topic to the forefront and now believes Cochrane may not be as forward-leaning on inclusion as she had originally thought.
She believes some people may misunderstand her intentions, and says Cochrane would not be unique in developing a statement and bylaw as well as realigning its policies.
"A lot of communities are doing this about making sure everybody in a community belongs in a community and feel they belong."
Councillor Morgan Nagel was the lone naysayer. He didn't question the need for inclusion but felt her original motion lack clarity. He also questions whether the proposed action would be of help or hindrance.
"I'm a huge believer in equality, and my personal belief is that the best way to achieve equality is to stop talking about all of our differences."
"I know it's a different approach than what some people think and it's a very controversial topic, but I actually find that the increased focus on cultural and gender and ethnic and sexual and racial issues is creating further divides in our society. It's don't think it's bringing people closer together."
Fedeyko agreed it does create a buzz, but believes it will have a positive impact.
"You're right, as soon as we start talking about it, and pointing it out, and pointing out the differences that we all have, conversation starts, but that conversation is how change happens. If we just shut our eyes, don't poke the bear, that's when bad things come out of society. You could probably ask any minority group, what their thoughts on people just not talking about what's happened to them."
Jaylene Knight is town manager of legislative services, and a member of the town's equity and inclusion staff committee that's chair by Melissa Engdahl.
She says there has been research completed before and since the motion was first brought forward by Councillor Fedeyko.
She says to make the statement meaningful requires a significant level of engagement and time to fully develop. It would also have to align with the founding declaration of the Canadian Coalition of Inclusive Municiaplities, of which the town is a signatory.
"It has to be not only just a statement but all of the things the town would implement and all of the things the town would put in place to reinforce that statement."
Council will have time to further discuss what they specifically want to see in the statement after receiving an initial report in January.