Thoughts and Opinions On Today's Important Issues

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Manipulating Windsor Democracy

The Star finally reported that the Mayor and Council are going to be spending $30,000 to retain our Legal weapon of mass destruction and a US law firm to fight the Ambassador Bridge’s Coast Guard decision in United States. But they did not report anything about how Council passed the Resolution to achieve their goal:
  • City takes fight with bridge to the U.S.

    Windsor has budgeted $30,000 for legal fees to raise concerns with the U.S. Coast Guard over the potential twinning of the Ambassador Bridge, which is seeking regulatory approvals on both sides of the border.”

Immediately, scores of Star readers inundated the Star Forum on this story with negative comments about the City’s actions.

When this matter appeared at Council, the question that should be asked is why none of these people attended to protest. The answer is simple. How could they, no one knew that it was going to be dealt with at Council. Watch the video to see how Democracy was killed here, again.

Just as the regular Agenda items were about to be finished, out of the Magician’s hat came the rabbit: Agenda Item number 11. It had originally been scheduled to be put on the in camera Agenda but the Mayor asked that it be pulled and put on the Public Agenda.

It was the ratification of some vote on the US Coast Guard. There was absolutely no mention by the Mayor of hiring lawyers to fight the Ambassador Bridge matter. It could have been about anything.

In fact, one of the Councillors, it might have been Councillor Loopy from the sound of his voice, moved to ratify what they had already done! It looked as if they voted by email!

I must admit I do not understand the procedure followed.

Perhaps someone is preparing for the lawsuit that is about to come and the argument will be made that this matter was passed publicly by Council.

It was all very quick. It was approved 6-3 by Council. More importantly, not one single Councillor objected to this procedure, to this denial of citizens' democratic right to appear as a delegation in front of Council to express an opinion.

So much for democracy in Windsor. No member of the public was allowed to appear as a delegation to this matter because no one knew about it. No one was allowed to appear at Council to complain bitterly about what the Mayor and Council were doing, nor to support it either. No one could blame the Mayor for spending another $30,000 of taxpayer money. No one could blame him for anything.

It is a nice little trick. Put something on the in camera agenda so no one will know about it so that no one can appear as a delegation. In the last second, put it on the public agenda. If someone does object down the road, then Council can say it was all done publicly. No one would remember about the nice little procedural manoeuver.

Here are the procedural actions taken, part of the Administrative Report and, as well, the final Resolution.

Moved to Public Agenda

Part of Admin Report

Final Resolution