Friday, May 13, 2011

Great Editorial In this week's Promoter "Public debate is cornerstone of democracy"

At a recent council meeting, one member, clearly irritated, wondered why issues were being "hashed out" in council chambers after the policy committee had already met and made a recommendation.

This musing should set off alarm bells for a number of reasons.

First, it is not enough that an issue be sent to a committee and then have that committee decide the matter without public transparency. Not only is the public excluded from policy committee meetings, and by extension the press, but also not every council member is in attendance. Yes, they have the ability to provide input prior to the meeting, but they are not included at the debate.

Taxpayers have the right to hear that debate, to know each council member's opinion and to be privy to any subsequent vote.

Another issue regarding development plans for the municipality apparently entailed "numerous meetings", again behind closed doors.

We recognize that while certain issues require confidentiality to protect the individual, those that impact the taxpayer financially or philosophically require transparency.

Council should let the public judge for themselves what's important, whether it involves significant tax dollars or not. All policies and bylaws affect residents, one way or another. Discussions on how they are arrived at need to be heard.

Transparency and accountability have become cliqued political fodder in recent times. Let's ensure these principles remain firmly planted in Crowsnest Pass.


Anonymous said...

Transparency and accountability have become cliqued political fodder in recent times. Let's ensure these principles remain firmly planted in Crowsnest Pass.

It's not just a principle, it's the LAW.


197(1) Councils and council committees must conduct their meetings in public unless subsection (2) or (2.1) applies.
(2) Councils and council committees may close all or part of their meetings to the public if a matter to be discussed is within one of the exceptions to disclosure in Division 2 of Part 1 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

(f) “council committee” means a committee, board or other body established by a council under this Act;

This would include the Policy Committee, as well as the "Task Force". I don't think anything the Policy Committee should legitimately be doing would trigger the Privacy Act.

What can we do if they operate illegally, other than turf them at the next election? I think there is an option to appeal to the province to come in and take over management of the municipality.

Anonymous said...

All the decisions are being made at the retreats.
Council is just a formality.

Dean which Councillor was irrated?

Crowsnest Pass Home said...

The irrated Councilor was Mitchell.

Anonymous said...

Interesting quote from the Promoter.

"I totally respect the policy committee," said Councillor Saje. "But this is one that affects our taxpayers and when you start adding up all these things… this is one that hits everybody in their family budget and that's why it's that important."

Dean did Saje vote for this?
Do you know what the impact would be on our taxes?

Anonymous said...

So Councillor Mitchell the old champion of democracy who spent three years slaming the opposition on council.
Is now irrated about public debate.
Only in the Crowsnest Pass can this happen.
Go back to the Cuff report it clearly stated "all" members of council were meeting.

I guess some were honest about it and some obviously were not.


Anonymous said...

This as gone on forever, don't just read the Cuff report go to the Municipal web site and read the previous reports. Irwin controlled council forever in this manner. Mitchell was a follower of Irwins why would he not follow in his steps.


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