Saturday, December 31, 2011


Earlier this month I spoke to Woolwich Council about CPAC. I thought that I had made clear how thrilled I was with CPAC's progress and actions relevant to the cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers. I also however advised Council that there was a fly in the ointment and that was the basic model of public consultation present here in Woolwich. The basic model is what is known as a committee of Council. This model while having a few positives to it, dances on a knife edge of drawbacks and dangers. The most obvious and immediate one is the danger of this allegedly independent citizens' committee becoming nothing more than a mouthpiece of Council. Even worse would be a mouthpiece of one or two members of Council.

Any committee of ordinary citizens can be intimidated, threatened or even bribed into submission. Peer pressure is also a constant whether for good or bad. Even a committee of extraordinary citizens, as I believe we currently have, can be jerked around, manipulated and bafflegabbed. This can be accomplished primarily through control of the process. This process includes things like scheduling of meetings whether private or public. It includes the location of the meetings. It includes who is invited to the meetings. When non voting members are being routinely brought to meetings for example it could possibly be to simply buttress the position of one participant. The precedent can be set that all meetings for example must be in the Township building and hence can only be called by the Township. Who sets the Agenda is vitally important. Who decides unilaterally or otherwise as to what is added or dropped from the Agenda? Who is in sole control of the Minutes? Who amends the Minutes and is it the Amended Minutes that are posted on-line? Who physically controls all old Minutes and are they easily available to all voting members for research or inspection? Are meetings rescheduled or cancelled by consenus or unilaterally? Finally it is the Council alone who decide whom to appoint and whom to kick off. They do this without consultation, without warning and without any form or attempt at fair play or transparency. The Chair and the Township both wield extraordinary power and influence in this situation. The Mayor being Chair magnifies this.

Please do not misunderstand me here. To date this new CPAC has done wonderful things and I have publicly at CPAC, at Council and here said exactly that. But there have been rumblings including public ones. Again I have brought the Mayor to task for his possibly arrogant and critical behaviour towards certain CPAC members at public meetings. This has improved. This CPAC now know what they are up against with Chemtura and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. What they deserve after being appointed by Woolwich Council is control of their own processes and freedom to pursue their duties in a democratic and fair manner. They do not need a third front being opened simply for ideological reasons or for control purposes by Council or its' representatives.

1 comment:

  1. Puppets on a string. One can usually find numerous council members missing several body parts. One is a spine, the other two l leave up to the public input. So many want the job of mayor or council, but drop moral accountability after a couple drinks or turns of the vice. lt is such a sad state of affairs in this country when the right and honest things don't get done so ones personal goals can be aquired. Shame on those cowards of society that pit gains over human lives. Carma, oh yes l am positive it is real and alive. You make your own choices, for someone lS watching and waiting for your next move. The bad boy.