Thursday, July 2, 2020


"Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely". I'm sure we've all heard that old saying and generally speaking it is true. The "corruption" mentioned of course can be gross, can be severe, can be life-threatening or it can be no more than timid politicians merely breaking rules for which they have no respect. This lack of respect is primarily because of lack of enforcement. Yes we've had too many politicians who think that they can expense all kinds of personal expenses onto the public. This includes costs of one politician's son's wedding. We've also had a former Prime Minister accepting a bag (s?) full of cash from a German lobbyist. In the former case criminal proceedings were undertaken resulting in a conviction and public denunciation. In the latter case nothing.

One of the most common offenses by politicians is the habit of closing what are legally mandated public meetings. While there are only about three legitimate reasons permitted for closed municipal meetings for example, local politicians routinely get creative and manage to slide just about whatever topic they want into those three categories (personal discussions of individuals, legal advice, real estate or proposed property purchases by a municipality). The real purpose of a closed meeting is for a council to discuss something controversial without having to be accountable for their misstatements, inaccuracies and downright sketchy motives on occasion. For example let's say that a municipality has an annual Maple Syrup Festival. Do you think that the municipality want to publicly discuss closing that Festival because they've just learned that their drinking water is contaminated? Hell no. That is going to cost them a ton of lost money which usually ends up assisting/supporting numerous causes in their community. Those politicians do not want to be known at the next election as the politicians who shut down the Festival. Therefore they talk illegally among themselves; individuals present biased or inaccurate information and the rest of the councillors go along with the plan (eg. keeping silent) making less than stellar decisions based upon less than stellar facts and advice. The public are treated as if they were five year olds and incapable of making sound decisions whether to attend or not.

Today's Waterloo Region Record has an Opinion piece by Luisa D'Amato titled "Wilmot council discussions should have been open to the public". These discussions were about both the public behaviour of mayor Les Armstrong as well as about the future of famous/infamous statues currently residing in Wilmot Township. A few years back yours truly got fed up with Woolwich Council and decided that they needed a public upbraiding. One of the upbraidings was in regards to their penchant for closed meetings. At that time they routinely hid from the public without even making much attempt to justify their various closed meetings. Since the provincial Ombudsman at the time (Andre Marin) rapped their knuckles they have improved by at least stating the specific exemption which permits them to have a closed meeting. Of course flagrant lying will defeat this rule and I have no doubt that that has occurred.

So here we have another Waterloo Region Township (i.e. Wilmot) holding private council meetings. Clearly they are more afraid of the public's reaction to their positions regarding their mayor, regarding their statues and regarding racism than they are of the provincial legislation demanding public meetings. Clearly they know all too well that despite Woolwich Township's slight embarrassment over being caught by the Ombudsman, that the "discipline" was just about zero. Hence they break the law of the land with impunity and with disrespect. It seems to me that there is a gross selective enforcement of our laws at all levels of government and that politicians are treated more favourably than those of us who break laws with even less public harm being caused.

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