As we await the next coming of the new Council, a signal has been sent about the direction of the next four years.
At the last Council meeting a report was received from the Town’s Ombudsman that contained the news that two complaints of three lodged by members of the public were valid, and that the Town was in error when they barred the public from meetings of the Parks and Recreation Committee when it served as a steering committee for the waterfront. Read the report here
Taking that message into account – that the Town should be more open because they had pledged “to engage the public”, it is surprising that the first committee of the whole of the new Council is being held behind closed doors!
In the recent election campaign it was almost impossible not to hear the pledges of: openness, transparency and commitment to engage the public. One might argue that the public should not be allowed to watch the first meeting because it is a training session for the new Council. We at the BR would argue to the contrary as the public is entitled to see and hear what instructions the new Council will receive and from whom.
So why is this session being set up this way? Why cannot the public see just how our Councillors are being trained and the subjects being taught? Where else is public education held in secret? After all if an “engaged public” is to be in place, as a partner of the Council, so that participatory democracy can take place, why shouldn’t they – the public, get to see the rules?
All in all a very ominous sign to the next four years.