THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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Mississauga News - Aug. 25, 2009 - Letter by Councillor Carolyn Parrish
Change for the better
There has been quite a controversy over Council’s proposal to move Public Question Period from 19 Council sessions to committee meetings, of which there were 114 in 2008.
Comments by others, 8, to this web-page;
The Mississauga Muse Aug 27, 2009 1:47 AM
“We’ve dealt with this as a Mayor all these years–I look at it as an improvement in the administration of the business of the City. It really is. I think today we need to look at efficiency and improvement of the administration of the business. This is one item that I think is going to do that. You know what? In my opinion citizens that are really sincere and dedicated, are going to benefit from this system in a major way. They’re going to see it’s dealing with their questions more professionally in more depth and with more facts and data to answer the question. And I believe we have to do that, and this is the way, in my opinion, it can be done much better than it has in the past.” Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion TRANSCRIPT, Mississauga Council Meeting August 5, 2009. See that “answer the question”…
Think About It Aug 26, 2009 8:15 PM
The evidence from the stone walling of our Municipal Freedom of Information, councilors are twisting their nose out of joint to raise the bar on public access while citizens want the lowering of the bar to include In Camera. Public Question Periods are not a new concept and never were. The purchase of new camera's were originally meant to focus on city councilors under Transparency Bill 142 after Cliff Gyles got his fingers clipped accessing personnel information on victims, through the FOI Act , when he had left the Federal Public Works department in which he now receives his full Canada Pension Plan
Uatu Aug 26, 2009 6:11 PM
Finally, I want to point out the way Councillor Parrish argues. She uses emotionally loaded words: gadfly, posturing, held captive. She attributes uproven motives, then attacks them. She describes the nature of Council meetings in completely opposite terms, then uses both to "support" her premise. She presents unrealistic alternatives as practical solutions: you too can run for office! She asserts, without proof and in the face of my experience and evidence presented almost daily by the Mississauga Muse, that "your councillor accounts to nobody but you." (Councillor Parrish, please explain how I can hold my Councillor accountable.) Last but not least, she offers herself as the voice of the "the real people – those who hold two jobs, commute on our congested roads..." If Councillor Parrish and Council really cared about the "real people" then meetings would be held in the evenings, when "real people" could attend.
* Agree 2
Uatu Aug 26, 2009 6:11 PM
Councillor Parrish also wants to eat her cake and have it too. When it suits her position, Council is purely ceremonial; however, when people ask questions at PQP, she writes, "We can no longer spend a public hour listening to theories on the perils of the Jefferson Salamander when the very urgent needs of a sophisticated, cosmopolitan city must be addressed." Well which is it, Councillor? Ceremony or urgent business?
* Agree 1 - Disagree 1
Uatu Aug 26, 2009 6:10 PM
Parrish writes, "Council itself is highly ceremonial. If you’ve ever attended, Council meetings are made up of presentations, awards and pro forma approvals of reports that have been debated and dealt with at committees." Surely this is an editing error. Did she really mean to let that be printed? This is the best argument she could make that Council meetings shouldn't even exist. Just hold a ceremony once in a while, done. Get on with the real work and stop wasting time. If Council wants to be open and transparent about how Mississauga is managed--and I don't mean governed; Council supposedly governs but Staff manages--then televise General Committee meetings, where we are told all the "real work" gets done. If Council meetings are ceremonial, then it's blatantly obvious that it's Council "performing for the cameras."
* Agree 2 - Disagree 1
Uatu Aug 26, 2009 6:10 PM
Let's start with the premise that this is an "either-or" choice. Opening up committee meeting to questions is a positive step. I have yet to see Parrish or anyone else explain why that requires removing it from Council meetings. Instead, we get ridiculous claims about "performing for the cameras." I have watched numerous Council meetings on Rogers and I have yet to get the impression that anyone but the Councillors "perform for the cameras". Councillor Parrish knows, or should know at least, that is is dishonest debating to attribute motives to your opponent so that you can attack them. Where is her proof that anyone is performing? Forthcoming right after the pigs finish their fly-by, methinks.
* Agree 1
The Mississauga Muse Aug 26, 2009 3:09 PM
Parrish writes, "Of all jurisdictions in Ontario, only Mississauga and Brampton have PQP on the Council agenda.” WRONG! Check out the Town of Aurora Council meeting agendas.."TOWN OF AURORA COUNCIL MEETING AGENDA...III OPEN FORUM" And quoting from Town of Aurora’s procedural by-law. "Open Forum 3.1 Open Forum shall be considered a part of the formal order of business of Council. Any ratepayer of the Town of Aurora is entitled to make a deputation to Council on a matter that is or is not on the Agenda of Council provided the maximum time allotted is five minutes for each delegate and the total time of all delegates for this portion of the Agenda be restricted to twenty minutes. By-law 4912-07.C". Also, the other City of Mississauga atrocity is to bray “Leading Today for Tomorrow” and they’re forever checking what other municipalities are doing and then FOLLOW! (And often follow “convenient” information!)
* Agree 3
AndrewHS Aug 26, 2009 2:25 PM
Rather than removing our tradition of PQP at Council - unique to Mississauga, apparently - would it not be feasible to impose time limits and relevancy rules instead? In fact, these rules are being proposed for the new committee PQP sessions: why not at Council? This would save time and money, and keep Council business on track, while still preserving an important part of our local democracy.
* Agree 2
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