A Brief News Commentary by Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper
Posted December 2nd, 2022 on Niagara At Large
It should not have happened this way for Brian Heit, but at least it happened.
This Thursday, December 1st, Brian Heit – a veteran Regional Council who, earlier on, also served on St. Catharines city council and as a deputy mayor for the city – was finally sworn in and returned to his seat on the Region’s council.
Why the delay, amounting to a full week after the other 31 or so regional councillors were sworn in at a November 24th Inaugural Meeting?
The reason is this. In this October’s municipal elections, Heit polled 7th in a fairly large field of candidates running for the Region’s council in St. Catharines, and the city is only entitled to six seats on the body.
Then, when Ontario’s Ford government reappointed one of the six winners, Jim Bradley, to serve as Niagara Region’s chair, one of those six seats came open and that is where Brian Heit comes in.
The sad thing about all of this is that someone of Brian Heit’s honesty and integrity never should have polled outside the top six in the first place, and perhaps it speaks to (among other things) the pathetically low voter turnout, with less than 30 per cent of eligible voters going to the polls, in these municipal elections, and to how little people pay attention to what is going on at their municipal councils.
In the case of Brian Heit, he was one of a minority of regional councillors who showed the courage and principles to vote against so many of the bad moves made by former Niagara regional chair Al Caslin and his so-called “cabal” during the 2014 to 2018 term of council, including the scandal-ridden hiring of Carmen D’Angelo as the Region’s now-out-if-there chief administrative officer.
That alone should have been enough for voters to put Heit in the top six and send him back to regional council for however many terms to come.
I will go so far as to say that although I may not have agreed with every position Heit has taken on issues at the Region, he has always taken them with a level of honesty and integrity and courage that has become less and less common in the world of politics today.
So I say that we in Niagara who care about these qualities in our elected representatives should feel good about the return of Brian Heit to Niagara Regional Council.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
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