Better Together Collingwood was very disappointed with the offensive Notice of Motion Kevin Lloyd introduced at Council last Monday. The following Notice of Motion was read into the minutes, and appears to be an attempt to intimidate and silence Brian Saunderson, a spokesperson for Better Together Collingwood, a citizens’watch-dog group that advocates in good faith and with integrity on behalf of the residents of Collingwood.
Councillor Lloyd’s Notice of Motion reads as follows:
“Whereas Mr. Brian Saunderson has conducted and made public a survey and has placed an advertisement in the Enterprise Bulletin dated Oct 4 noting the survey's alleged conclusion.
And whereas Mr. Brian Saunderson has also commented on his survey in the Oct 4 edition of the Enterprise Bulletin and further written the editor of the Collingwood Connection dated Oct 4 with the subsequent publishing of his letter.
And whereas Mr. Brian Saunderson has not made public the methodology used or professional research company engaged to undertake the survey;
And whereas Mr. Saunderson has not publicly disclosed his organization's mandate, his authority to speak on their behalf, his role within the organization, or it's membership, publicly;
Now therefore be it resolved that Council respectfully requests Mr. Saunderson provide Council and make public in both local newspapers, the information requested herein, so that the public of Collingwood can be properly informed as to Mr. Saunderson's conclusions, including assurance of the professionalism and credibility of the survey.”
Here is the response from Better Together Collingwood
We live in a free a democratic society and the citizens of Collingwood do not report to this Council. In fact, it is Council who reports to the citizens of Collingwood and is vested with a duty to act with the utmost good faith in the best interests of our town.
Canada is a free and democratic country with guaranteed rights and freedoms which cannot be infringed or limited by this Council. Councillor Lloyd’s notice of motion is a shameful response to the concerns of Better Together Collingwood exercising the freedoms of speech and association in the normal course of political discourse in a democratic society.
Councillor Lloyd’s Notice of Motion highlights three key principles identified by the recent BTC survey: Leadership, Freedom of Expression and Transparency.
As the leaders of our community, Council must demonstrate big picture thinking and vision for our community and engage the residents in good faith in a meaningful, respectful dialogue.
This Council has missed the point of the survey results entirely and demonstrated its inability to truly lead our community. Rather than engage our residents respectfully in any meaningful dialogue and operate in an open, transparent way, this Council appears to be taking an aggressive, confrontational and defensive position.
This is not leadership. It is an attempt to intimidate and bully citizens and critics which is unacceptable in our democratic system.
The survey respondents have indicated that they want change. Council has twelve months before the next election to make a choice: listen to the residents of Collingwood, change their decision making process and provide true leadership or continue on its current course……
Freedom of Expression
Better Together Collingwood is a community watch-dog and advocacy group formed to respond to the perceived lack of transparency and flawed decision making processes in our local government.
We have the right to the freedoms of speech and association as guaranteed to all Canadians under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We have the right to gather and discuss community issues and we have the right to share information that has been gathered with the general public
.For Collingwood Council to attempt to infringe on those essential freedoms and intimidate local residents is undemocratic, unlawful and un-Canadian.
If Council is concerned with proper and defensible processes, Better Together Collingwood strongly suggests that they concentrate on their own decision making processes.
Proper decision making processes that are open and transparent are the cornerstones of a healthy, functional and responsive municipal government.
Recent revelations with respect to the procurement of the recreational structures and the fact there is an ongoing OPP investigation in our community are testament to the lack of transparency and proper process in our municipal government.
The survey respondents have suggested that Council strengthen the conflict of interest policy, review the procurement policy to prevent the sole sourcing of multi-million dollar projects in the future and to have local government oversight by an Integrity Commissioner. Respondents have also suggested that Council engage the public in ongoing, effective and meaningful communications.
These are all logical, rationale suggestions which merit serious consideration by this Council. Better Together Collingwood believes Council should give each of these suggestions serious consideration.
Better Together Collingwood invites Councillor Lloyd to do the right thing and withdraw his Notice of Motion.
Better Together Collingwood further invites this Council to demonstrate true leadership and recognize and consider the results of the survey for what they are – the voices of local residents who want to see a better future for our community.