Niagara town council offers not a word of support for one of Lincoln’s gold star citizens
A Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted July 19th, 2-17 on Niagara At Large
Silence becomes cowardice when occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly. – Mahatma Gandhi
Niagara, Ontario – Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton and her town council had at least two opportunities to publicly speak out in support of one of their town’s most respected and dedicated public servants and citizens. And both times, they did not.
That public servant and citizen is Bill Hodgson, a Lincoln regional councillor a mayor and school board trustee for the municipality who, until recently, also served as one of 15 appointed members on the board of directors for the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority.
This spring, a majority of the other 14 NPCA board members – a majority of them elected Niagara mayors and councillors appointed by Niagara’s regional council – went behind closed doors like the snivelling cowards and creeps most of them are and voted to “censure” Bill Hodgson – as in slam the guy with a formal expression of disapproval tantamount to a pillorying or shaming – for reasons many of the rest of us do not understand.
What many of the rest of us do understand is that Bill Hodgson, who responded to that crappy treatment – quite understandably – by tendering his resignation from the board, is that up to the time he was censure, he was the only member of that board earnestly championing a call by numerous Niagara residents and by a number of municipal councils in Niagara and Hamilton for a thorough, independent audit of the NPCA’s operations.
The calls for this audit, by the way, have been driven by questions and concerns that have been raised in the public realm for well over a year now about how this Conservation Authority is spending millions of our tax dollars.
As much as the censuring of Bill Hodgson upset and angered a good many members of the public across this region, but this past June, when Sandy Annunziata, a Fort Erie regional councillor and chair of the NPCA board, stood before Lincoln Mayor Sandra Easton and her council to outline what the Conservation Authority now is, and what it isn’t under his watch – “we are not an environmental protection agency,” Annunziata was quoted saying at one point – the council did not raise a peep about the shaming of their fellow citizen.
“Councillors steered clear of questioning Annunziata about recent turmoil at the board level regarding Lincoln regional councillor Bill Hodgson,” read a report of the Lincoln council meeting in a June 23rd edition of the Grimsby Lincoln News.
Then, this past July 17th, at another meeting of Lincoln council, the mayor and councillors discussed what to do about filling Bill Hodgson’s now vacant seat on the NPCA board – a matter they ultimately decided to defer to a future meeting – the council once again had nothing to say about the disgusting way Hodgson was treated.
A report of the June 17th meeting, posted the same day on the St. Catharines Standard’s online news site, read as follows; “Asked whether the circumstances surrounding Hodgson’s departure from the board is a concern = including the board’s refusal to disclose what Hodgson is alleged to have done = Easton and the town council decided to stay out of it. … ‘If it happens again in the future, we will deal with it at that time,’ she (Easton) said.”
If it happens again in the future? What in hell does that mean? Madam Mayor, what about the awful garbage that is going down right now!
I am far from the only one who has noticed a coarsening of conduct at the municipal level of government in Niagara over the past two or three years. That is disturbing enough.
Even more heartening though is how few of our councillors at the regional and local levels are demonstrating the courage to stand up to all of this insulting and bullying behaviour.
To many of our municipal councillors are enabling this disgusting conduct by doing just what Easton and her council have done, not once, but twice now within as many months, and not showing the courage to stand up for what is left of decency and civility in public life.
To read a related story on this mess, posted this past May in Niagara At Large, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2017/05/03/npca-board-takes-aim-at-one-of-its-own-members-lincoln-regional-councillor-bill-hodgson-with-move-to-censure-him/ .
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 bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .