If You Are Afraid To Go To Regional Council Headquarters To Watch The Meeting, You Should Make Every Effort Watch It At Home.
Get Informed & Engaged In This Municipal Election Year. And Get Ready To Vote.
Niagara’s Future – And Yours – Depends On It!
A Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted February 6th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
It is circus time again in Niagara with the Al Caslin and company girding up for another one of those once-every-three-weeks full meeting of regional council this coming Thursday, February 8th at the Niagara regional headquarters off Schmon Parkway in Thorold.
It is also an important year in Niagara – possibly one of the most important years for municipal politics in decades in this region – because this coming October we have municipal elections, and we have an awful lot of work to do as voters, finding good candidates to run for our local and regional councils and sweeping a lot of bad actors out.
And at the regional government level, we are going to need a gargantuan size broom to sweep the bad ones out.
If you don’t know or aren’t sure you believe me, just go to the search engine on your computer and key in the word Niagara along with words or acronyms like lawsuits, NPCA, police board, police chief, retirement package, audit, regional councillors expense claims, Ontario ombudsman’s office probe – just to name a few – and I am sure you will agree that we are going to need one super gargantuan broom to get the job done.
That’s not to say that there are not some good people now sitting on the regional council and I believe it would be wrong not to identify them.
Here is my list – for the time being, at least – of regional councillors I would vote for again, should they choose to run for another term of office. It is not that I agree with every decision these councillors have made – there have been times when decisions by a few of them have left me shaking my head – but they certainly don’t deserve to be lumped in with the rest.
My list of the good councillors include – Councillors Brian Heit, Kelly Edgar , Debbie MacGregor and Tim Rigby from St. Catharines; Bill Hodgson from Lincoln; Grimsby Mayor Bob Bentley; Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn; Niagara-on-the-Lake regional councillor Gary Burroughs; Welland regional councillor George Marshall; Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop; and Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani and a regional councillor from Thorold, Henry D’Angela.
They are the good news, but the bad news is that they are outnumbered on the regional council by the worst actors and their useful idiots and enablers by about two to one, which is why we have to find the very best candidates we can where we live and do business in Niagara to replace them.
Fortunately, there is already at least one good non-artisan citizens organization that has recently come together in Niagara with a mission to do just that – get us engaged in municipal politics and working together with our friends and neigbhours to make sure we have local and regional couciillors work with us for a better future.
That organization and campaign is called ‘A Better Niagara’ and you can find out more about it and how you can get involved by clicking on – http://www.abetterniagara.com/ .
As for that Niagara regional council meeting coming up this February 8th, and all of the other regional council and committee meetings we should be keeping an eye on in the weeks and months approaching the October municipal vote, unfortunately I have had a number of citizens in the region that they do not feel comfortable or safe going on the Niagara regional headquarters property because of ugly things they experienced (or witnessed happening to others, including, believe it or not, to some regional councillors) during past visits themselves, or stories they have heard or read about ugliness unfolding on the regional headquarters site.
On the ugliness front, there are two things I continue to recommend people to do –
- If you have experienced or witnessed harassment or other ugly conduct on the regional headquarters property, report it to the police, your MPPs, MPs and other provincial and federal authorities. I know they have already been hearing from others and are keeping files.
- Last but not least, you can follow the regional council and committee meetings at home on your computer, which is what I am more often doing these days to avoid the bad vibes. I will share a link you can click on for the February 8th council meeting directly below.
To watch the February 8th Niagara regional council meeting online, wait until the 6:30 start, then click on the following link – posted here at the end of this paragraph – and click again on the blue link you will see for the meeting that reads Video. If you are not around to watch the meeting in real time, you can go to the link any time afterword and watch it when you are ready. Here is the link – https://www.niagararegion.ca/government/council/minutes/default.aspx .
I should warn that watching regional council meetings at home can still be scary, but it is kind of like watching a movie like Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Pysho’ on a screen in the warmth of your own home, rather than going out and watching it in a dark theatre.
What you see is still disturbing but at least you feel a little safer while you are watching it.
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“A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders