THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
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The CANCER on Democracy Developing in City halls - BANNING those who are
Mississauga News - June 9, 2006 - Editorial
Public voice denied
Mississauga City councillors have committed a grave disservice to residents by changing the rules of the period designated for questions from the public during regular council meetings.
Rather, councillors decided to invoke rules that they have never called on before to silence critics whom they have grown tired of.
The move happened Wednesday when council cancelled the long-standing tradition of the open question period when they were about to be addressed by two long-time and regular critics.
True, the people involved have become relentless in their opposition to council and are considered irritants to City staff and politician alike. But that is not a good enough reason to silence all of us. And, if it was meant to single out and silence just Donald Barber and Roy Willis, it makes the matter even worse.
In a city that prides itself on openness it is hypocritical to quash the voice of dissenting interests. It is a blow against democracy and freedom of speech. Councillors should be ashamed of themselves.
Mississauga City council has long touted the procedure of an open question period and the mayor herself regularly brags the municipality is the only one in the GTA that allows residents to speak at any meeting. But not anymore.
Councillors must give their heads a shake and put the practice of public question period back into place.
[COMMENTS BY DON B. - ]
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