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Opening comments: More at the end.
To the Public Question Period Index page.
Mississauga News - Aug. 18, 2009 - Letter by Jason Martins
I’m outraged by Ward 7 City councillor Nando Iannicca and Council, and further outraged by his shameful display of arrogance in defending his position.
In Iannicca’s rebuttal to the just criticism he received from citizens and The News, he effectively shifted the attention away from the real issue (public question period) and put it on Mr. Hamilton-Smith and his “political interference.”
Firstly, as a public servant, Iannicca — and the rest of Council — serves at the behest of the people of Mississauga and should be respectful of anyone who approaches Council. That Iannicca and Mayor Hazel McCallion, among others, verbally attacked a citizen is unacceptable.
Secondly, if my name was Stephen Harper, does this void my right to voice a municipal concern in the city in which I reside? Iannicca also went on to attack The News’ editor for putting a political agenda before journalistic integrity. In truth, I was ecstatic to see a newspaper that did not cater to politicians and smooth over their political agenda.
Iannicca went on the offensive in his retort to The News, a further outrage. His argument is ridiculous and it demands an apology from Iannicca, McCallion and Council to Mr. Hamilton-Smith and Mississauga residents.
Now, back to the issue: the elimination of public question period. Yes, some people will have their 15 minutes of fame at Council, but this is the price we pay in our democracy. Members of Council should expect to answer questions when elected. If they don’t want to, they shouldn’t run for office.
The fact is, Council meetings are more readily accessible to the public at large. Coverage in the media (specifically television) is readily available, while at the committee level it is not.
In the interest of democracy and transparency, the most effective forum for public input is Council — unless the objective is to eliminate public input.
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