Comment 120115

By kevlahan (registered) | Posted September 22, 2016 at 19:58:48 in reply to Comment 120113

First, there is a big difference between how parliament operates and how city council operates. There is an opposition and a government federally. There is no 'government' at City Hall that is separate from Council. All Councillors are members of the government.

There is also a difference between the Governor of the Bank of Canada or a Supreme Court Justice (who are by legislation supposed to operate independently from the government and politics) and a municipal staff member whose job it is to carry out Council directives. Those federal officials do not carry out directives of the government, they must act independently!

There is also a big difference in power: a Supreme Court Justice and the Governor of the Bank of Canada are both powerful people who cannot be fired by an NDP MP. Municipal staff know that they could lose their job if they really upset enough of Council.

It would certainly wrong for an NDP MP to turn up at a public meeting organized by a civil servant to implement government policy and start suggesting their meeting was rigged and question their professional integrity, and that is what these two Councillors did and what Councillor Whitehead has done repeatedly, especially in regards to cycle infrastructure and complete streets in other wards. He also said the staff report on the bus lane was not reliable because staff were biased in favour of transit.

It would also be wrong for the Prime Minister, say, to question the professional integrity of a Supreme Court justice, or accuse the governor of the bank of Canada of deliberately endangering Canadians.

I disagree with Skelly and Whitehead's criticisms of LRT, but there is nothing wrong with them stating that they have serious questions about the project and raising these questions at Council.

But when they disrupt public meetings and suggest the results have been rigged or organized against the public interest they have gone too far! Remember that Council has directed staff to implement LRT and, unlike an NDP MP, Skelly and Whitehead are part of the the Muncipal government that directed staff to do this job. In fact, Whitehead even voted in favour of these resolutions!

In any case, it doesn't really matter what the rule are for federal MPs, such behaviour violates the City's Councillor code of conduct:

SECTION 13 - CONDUCT RESPECTING CITY EMPLOYEES 13.1

(a) members of Council shall be respectful of the role of City employees to advise based on political neutrality and objectivity and without undue influence from any individual member or faction of the Council;

(b) no member of Council shall maliciously, falsely, negligently or recklessly injure the professional or ethical reputation, or the prospects or practice of City employees; and

(c) members of Council shall show respect for the professional capacities of City employees.

13.4 No member of Council shall use, or attempt to use, their authority or influence for the purpose of intimidating, threatening, coercing, commanding, or influencing any City employee with the intent of interfering with that employee’s duties, including the duty to disclose improper activity.

Comment edited by kevlahan on 2016-09-22 20:13:11

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