‘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.’
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 – https://www.youtube.com/embed/zwYPGBRGoc8?rel=0&autoplay=1 .
NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.
A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.
For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater binational Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .