Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Haldimand "Yes, No, Maybe, Oh I'm not sure"

Well it's Wednesday here in Haldimand, and the local papers are out. I would like to talk about one of the stories titled "Nuclear environmental assessment support withdrawn" that appeared in the Regional News this Week.

As most people know that keep up with current events, there has been an issue stirring regarding a possible Nuclear Plant in Haldimand County or Norfolk County. I won't get into the details except to say that Norfolk County has been holding public meetings to inform their residents. Haldimand County Council on the other hand has sent a letter of support to the Provincial Government for a Nuclear Plant here, but has not to date held one public meeting.

On May 7th, 2007 at the Council in Committee Meeting, Council voted 4-3 to send a letter of support for a "nuclear environmental assessment" to Premier Dalton McGuinty. On May 14th, 2007 at the Council of the Whole Meeting when council would make their final decision, they voted to defer the previous vote and wait before sending this letter of support. This is not unusual to change decisions before the final vote, or to defer a decision, as Council may have received more information related to this issue and need to look into it further.

It is the "process" that I have a problem with and their reasons given for changing their minds. Here are a few quotes from the newspaper.

"Some councillors felt that council did not speak as a "team" on the issue and that a split vote wasn't clear in it's intent". "Deputy Mayor Buck Sloat said that council could not move forward with a 4-3 vote".

Councilor Grice was also critical of councillors for not moving forward. Councilor Grice stated that council does speak with a 4-3 vote. At the May 7th, 2007 Council meeting Mayor Trainer, Councillors Ricker and Boyko voted against sending the letter as they stated that the public had not been notified of the letter on the agenda.

Councilor Grice was absolutely correct when he said that a 4-3 vote does speak for itself. It has in the past, so why now say that this is not a majority vote? The County's Bylaw clearly states that motions are passed with a majority vote, so why now the back peddling? Council should have just deferred this motion until further notice, instead of making up these unreasonable absurd excuses!

So Haldimand County Council has decided that this letter will now be reviewed by a "special purpose committee for council" that was formed to address the issue. The decision to do so was carried unanimously.

Maybe there is something wrong in my reasoning, but Mayor Trainer, Councillors Ricker and Boyko already stated that they voted against this in part because the public had not been notified of the letter on the agenda. So wouldn't it be easier if they just put this on the next agenda, inform the public and make a decision?

Looking at these statements in a serious light, a 4-3 vote is absolutely a majority vote, it has been in the past and it will be in the future! Could Council now be forced by residents to revisit previous 4-3 votes that have been carried already by this council? A resident could actually quote Councilor Sloat's statement that "we can not move forward with a 4-3 vote". I am afraid to say that council has shed a new light on how they function, and has opened up some doors that were better off "behind closed doors".

It seems that some of our elected officials don't even trust their own judgements!

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