Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Haldimand "What is the Duty of a Councillor?"

Motion from council may change procedures
Posted By Donna Pitcher
October 7, 2009

Councillor Tony Dalimonte brought forth a motion at Monday's Council in Committee meeting that had some council members feeling that their voice within their wards would be taken away and that this motion is a direct hit on the democratic process.

The motion by Dalimonte states; "That in order to ensure consistency and clarity with respect to Council's position on County business and issues, the following Protocol be adopted".

"That all formal meetings with the Provincial and Federal Government Ministers or their staff, for the purpose of advancing County Corporate business through discussions or presenting County Corporate business or issues, be first sanctioned through resolution by a "majority" vote of Council and co-ordinated through the Mayor's office".

"Council speaks with one voice, we speak by resolution only, and there is no other way around this, we need to table this motion and cast it in stone", said Dalimonte. Dalimonte feels that the voice of council needs to be conveyed through the Mayor's office, with a majority voice.

"With this motion my community voice is gone," said Councillor Craig Grice, this motion makes no sense". Grice was disappointed with Dalimonte's philosophy behind the motion, as Grice understood that this motion was to ensure continuity with respect to conferences not individual councillors. The spirit of this motion can not go forward according to Grice.

"It took the Mayor three years to ask if anyone on council wanted a meeting with a minister" said Grice. Grice had requested back a few months ago for the Mayor to arrange a meeting with the minister of infrastructure, and a meeting with MP Diane Finley, to date nothing has been arranged through the Mayors office.

Grice has been very successful in arranging many meetings with Ministers and their staff over the last couple of years. With this new motion Grice will no longer have a voice to contact a minister on his own, he will need a "majority" vote through council first before a meeting could be arranged through the Mayors office.

Councillor Lorne Boyko spoke of the major differences between a Mayor and a council member. "A Mayor has too support the position of council, they have to regardless of what their personal opinion is", a Councillor does not have to do that, Boyko feels that this motion is censoring council members. "I think you are seriously undercutting the duty and the role of a Councillor", said Boyko.

The motion was carried with a vote of 4-2, Grice and Boyko voted against the motion. Councillor Leroy Bartlett was not present when this motion was discussed.

In an interview with Grice after the council meeting, Grice said this motion was ego vs. politics".


  1. Yet another motion that makes no sense!

    This is nothing more than a gagging order!

    We are not stupid here, we can see who the drivers are!

  2. formal meetings seems a reasonable policy, but what about informal meetings, they happen much more than people realize. Nothing stopping councilors from doing that.

  3. The motion makes perfect sense to me. All councillors should have a say about what should be taken to higher levels of government, if not we will have councillors with concerns affecting his or her ward only (or perhaps even their own personal concerns) speaking on behalf of the entire county population.

  4. The above poster makes a valid point. "if not we will have councillors with concerns affecting his or her ward only". If council wants a single voice then disolve the ward system, then and only then will this make sense. An example could be that someone say in Ward 3, may not have the same passion or concern for the residents in Ward 6, that is why we vote for council members in their ward, they speak on behalf of their constituents. Boyko was correct that each council member can speak on behalf of its residents, this motion takes that away because they have to ask permission to have a meeting with even a staff member in the ministers office. And by the way I am sure that every meeting with a minister would be considered a formal meeting.What will the "majority" of council censor next?

  5. Funny thing about this one is that two weeks ago Buck Sloat met Diane Finley in her office in Simcoe. I'll bet that the Mayor is not even aware of this meeting. Was he sanctioned by council to does this? No! Yet he pushed this motion? How contradictive is that?

  6. This is ridiculous! Has this council got nothing better to do?

  7. Perhaps the Mayor should report to Council how many private meetings and telephone discussions she has had, and continues to have, with known non-native agitators in the Caledonia affair.

    Or, perhaps she should come clean to the voters how many times she has shared private county e-mails with constituents and how much it has cost the county in legal fees.