There is no “Code of Conduct’ cure for this Niagara regional council

 ‘The Horror. The Horror’

A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted May 19th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Something’s going on here, and you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?” – a lyric from the Bob Dylan song,                        Ballad of a Thin Man

Niagara, Ontario – Siting there, watching the regional council dong whatever they were doing during this past May 18th, meeting of council was like taking another trip to ‘Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness,’ and listening to that character whispering in your ear at the end; “the horror, the horror.’

The irony of this photo of the reginal council, taken a couple of years ago with council meeting holding up signs saying; “Bulliying – Just Stop it!”, speaks for itself

There was a point earlier on in the meeting, that droned on for more than four hours with code of conduct stuff, when Sandra Eaton, the mayor for the Town of Lincoln and one of the more decent people sitting on the council, got up with what looked like a bewildered, searching look on her face and asked the Region’s recently re-assigned integrity commissioner, John Mascarin, what might be done and what he might be able to do about whatever is going on there.

“A big part of my work I to deal with dysfunction councils,” was part of Mascarin’s reply.

Mascarin, a respected attorney who teaches about municipal affairs at Osgoode Law School, said an associated advised him to watch videos of Niagara regional council meetings and see, for himself, what is going on by an hour or so in to them.

“I see that there are some problems. …. I see that there is some disruption to the business of council,” he said. “I don’t have a magic formula.”

Sadly, for all of us who pay more than a million dollars a year to these councillors to focus on doing the best work they can for us around spending a billion dollars of our tax money, Mascarin may be right.

As good as he may be at his job as a adjudicator of alleged code of conduct infraction around municipal councils, I know I am far from the only one – and I am saying that based on so many calls I get from people disgusted with what they see on a regular basis at meeting of this regional council – who feels it is going to take one hell of a lot more than an integrity commissioner or a code of conduct to address the dysfunction mess we have here.

It is going to take next year’s municipal elections where we, the voter, use our own code of conduct and be our own integrity commissioner when we walk into those voting booths in Welland, Niagara Falls, St. Catharines, Port Colborne, Wainfleet, West Lincoln and every other municipality around this Niagara region.

There are only about a dozen good people sitting on that council of 21 now, so we have to get to work in our municipalities to put together a slate of good candidates to take care of business, once and for all, here.

I will have more commentary on this regional council, the code of conduct mess and related matters in the days ahead on Niagara At Large.

Please Stay Tuned.

To watch some or all of this May 18th meeting of Niagara Regional Council, take a stiff drink and click on .

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders


2 responses to “There is no “Code of Conduct’ cure for this Niagara regional council

  1. About all this bad political leadership we should be consoled that the five hundred acre Thundering Waters Forest is still alive, if only because of the courage of conservation authority staff in standing up to it.


  2. The law suits and censuring of Elected Councilors by a Board appointed by the Regional Council simply because they questioned an act and/or actions leaves one so totally mystified that this could be happening in a country and or province that supposedly adheres to the eloquent term “A DEMOCRACY”
    Then to have a Niagara Regional Council appointed board recently come forth with a Code of Conduct stipulation that totally binds the Board Members to absolute “Unconflicting Loyality” to the board, a stipulation that supercedes their duties as representives of the Electorate. Apparently this bill or motion in its dictatorial form was defeated by the majority of Board Members as being undemocratic. According to a statement received by a local media from the Chair of the NPCA the Code of Conduct “review” was prompted by circumstances that led to the CENSURE of Councilor Hodgson???


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