Monday, November 02, 2015

Mayor's China Trip Questions

China trip approval.................
end run around transparency??

Council watchers will remember that the Mayor removed an item on the agenda some time ago which would have sought Council approval for sending him to China.

That was pretty much the last of any public discussion on the matter although a source I trust told me the Mayor did confide that he was going as he had secured other financing for the trip.

At the last Committee of the Whole meeting the Mayor announced that Council, with the exception of Councillor Hong had approved the trip at an in-camera meeting.

Questions needing answers

The first obvious question is why was this matter dealt with in-camera, under what section of the Community Charter did this fall?

Apparently city council was not advised of this item until 5:30 pm the day before a scheduled 9:00 am meeting of council. Why the last minute addition of an item that has been on the 'back burner' for sometime now?

The following sections of the Community Charter are the ones considered by council before proceeding in-camera according to Mr. Jackson, Legislative Services Manager:

Community Charter Section 90(1):
(j) information that is prohibited, or information that if it were presented in a document would be prohibited, from disclosure under section 21 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
(n) the consideration of whether a Council meeting should be closed under a provision of this subsection or subsection (2); and,
Community Charter Section 90(2):
(b) the consideration of information received and held in confidence relating to negotiations between the municipality and a provincial government or the federal government or both, or between a provincial government or the federal government or both and a third party.


All members of Council were present for the vote to go in-camera, which was passed by Council but opposed by Councillors Fuller, Kipp and Yoachim.

This response does not readily make apparent how any of these sections would apply to a decision by council to have our Mayor go to China on some kind of a trade mission with the Premier. It does point to the potential for abuse of Section 90 provisions which may or shall be applied when conducting city business. Apparently three Councillors did not agree with going in-camera for this discussion and my understanding is that not all members of council actually voted on the motion to send the Mayor to China which was opposed by Councillor Hong.

Once again, the issue of transparency is called into question which seems to be one of those buzz words that gets used when convenient but does not seem to be put into practice.


allvoices

7 comments:

  1. Just give it a rest, it's a much needed trade mission, it's a petty amount of money, and I am sure it will be well spent, if we realize business benefits.

    For Pete's sake, I wish we would all quit whining in this town, and get on with things !

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  2. For crying out loud ............. it is NOT the trip to China that is the issue. it is the process of once again using the in-camera process to avoid public scrutiny, People with your attitude just keep feeding this arrogant contempt for the process .....

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  3. I seldom agree with Jim Taylor ; but do on this one.
    The contempt of the law, system and protocols is accepted by the average taxpayer be it at the Municipal level, Provincial level or Federal.
    Possibly he or she that gleans their information and make their decisions based upon the ,limited, main stream media all suffer myopia.

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  4. If this deal was lucrative locally, local businesses would be on it.

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  5. The mayor pulled this from the council agenda before because of the public outcry. Now with some other tax-spending politicians slurping at the trough as well, the mayor is off with them all and pocketfuls of taxpayer loot to cover the junket it seems.

    After the mayor pulled his ask from council before, I had heard the mayor was going ahead with the trip but it was being covered by "private funding". Now, with this council in-camera venture, that does not seem to be the case. Did his backer/s pull out because the trip was not going to amount to much?

    This is a simple case of taxpayer's money being used to get you what you want - one way or the other. And to keep prodding until you get it.

    Shameful.

    Will this fetch more of an economic impact for taxpayers? Doubt it. Just like the NEDC did not....with the about $1.5-million we give it per year.

    Just keep raising taxes.....again, disgusting abuses of power.

    Kev

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  6. Pick your battles !

    town council meetings in Nanaimo, and a few thousand dollars for an investment trip pale in comparison to our more pressing issues. Yes keep a local eye on things, but not to the point that petty local crap freezes us into inertia.
    This is not the stage for grand political statements.
    perspective is paramount when dealing with local yokels non?
    I am pretty sure the business community is on board with this trip, by the way.
    ask them.

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  7. Great!...Then let the "business community PAY. Or you!

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