Councillor blindsided by inability to use very, very important Points of Privilege…

Did you watch Monday night’s presentation of the Why Can’t We Be Friends Of Central Park (updated story here)? Did you wonder why councillors were hopping up and down in their seats, the spittle of their seething outrage smearing up the lenses of the Rogers cameras?

OK, not all of council. And I do have to give props to Councillors Mike Edwards, Sandy Cunningham, and Dale West for standing up to defend their honesty — even though the quote in the Friend’s report, “… it is time to put accountable and honest Council members in office…” was actually a comment made during the group’s public meeting, and not actually from the group itself.

Though, as Mike Edwards noted, why include it in the first place?

But anyhoo… yes, roses to those three, honest men all. And perfectly reasonable points of clarification to raise. To paraphrase from Sandy Cunningham, the innuendo and accusations were not warranted, and Friends would probably have gotten a lot more mileage had they just stuck to their recommendations.

But then we get to Councillors Kevin Lloyd and Ian Chadwick — the former only getting a quizzical look from this direction, while the latter who appears to be actively campaigning for the Hypocrite of the Year award for his ongoing performance.

Kevin — you want a ‘scientific basis’ for their report? Aside from the fact you were engaging in debate, which is a no-no with deputations, just what the hell were you trying to point out? Did you mean scientific method, “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”? In which case, for every decision you make for the rest of this council, I think I now have the right to ask you the basis in science for how you arrived at your conclusion. I look forward to those conversations…

It seems to me that Friends did have some scientific basis to their report, consisting of systematic observation and measurement of the public’s reaction to the rec facility decision — and they presented findings, which, by the way, when you strip away some of the other stuff, are actually quite solid.

But Ian Chadwick… oh, Mr. Chadwick. The councillor, who felt “blindsided” because Mike Lewin’s oral presentation was a stripped down version of the one in council’s agenda. No, councillor, it was not “completely different,” just watered down. I realize you’re all upset, given that you cuddled up with a thesaurus and a copy of Robert’s Rules of Order on the weekend in an effort to line up all kinds of witty retorts to Lewin’s presentation and were thwarted.

No matter that not five minutes later you entertained a presentation from the Collingwood Clippers about making enhancements to the pool in order to accommodate a sizable donation received from the club, a presentation that was only in council’s hands about an hour before their meeting – yet you didn’t feel the need to leap from your seat, your mouth frothing, barely able to spit out the word, “blind… sided…”

I remember another petition, another presentation to a council that could be considered equally disrespectful — but since it was the former mayor in the seat and you essentially in a position of opposition, you rubbed your hands in glee. You remember what you said, right? That you don’t have the “right to so breezily dismiss the public or any petition, whether it be 100 or 10,000 names.”

Let’s face it, Chadwick’s performance on this file has not exactly been stellar; let’s not forget he provided us with one of the great facepalm moments of this council when he actively questioned a process he had supported only two months previously.

And, of course, my favorite: SandwichGate… (I realize it’s a completely unrelated topic, but I can’t help bringing it up)

I think it may have to do with being on the side of “right” (I have to admit I almost plotzed when the word dripped from Chadwick’s lips on Monday night, that he would use such a turn of phrase when he decries the same tactic when it’s used by our Conservative friends in Ottawa). In the majority, he becomes everything he claims he’s against, a truculent politician who so readily diminishes the opinions of those disagree with the direction of town council, unable to take criticism, and quick to take offense (he once berated me on a previous incarnation of my blog because I had used the phrase ‘Pretty River Speedway’ in reference to the Parkway, accusing me of blaming council for speeding on that street when it was actually a term several councillors had used).

I’m surprised Chadwick could find absolutely no good in that report; for instance, Friends are calling for an Ombud’s office, and improving openness and transparency — which is just what you talked about during the last term of council. What’s that? Collingwood still has that $125 fee to find out if council’s in camera meetings are appropriate or not?

Personally, I think there’s only one answer: I may have to take him out for a beer and slap him up the back of his head…