Writer says city council is tightening control on public information

With no prior notice and under the guise of ‘new business’, council voted (Feb. 11) on the first reading of Bylaw 19-8688, in which question period is to be eliminated. Their rationale is that question period isn’t being used effectively. They stated, “council and administration are often not prepared with the data required to provide answers”.

Questions often relate to items already voted on, or about to be voted on. The mayor and councillors are suggesting that they don’t have time to prepare an answer. What does this say about their level of knowledge?

At Nov. 13 council, James Kostuchuk (the only citizen appointed to two city committees), asked the mayor to eliminate question period, while admitting it was his first time asking a question in question period. How ironic!

At the April 23, 2018 council and public hearing for the budget, Mayor Ferris refused to allow questions regarding the budget. The city had advertised that questions and presentations would be allowed. It is a requirement of the Manitoba Municipal Act that both are allowed at public hearings. Mayor Ferris refused to let the citizens present ask questions about the budget, knowing full well that he was violating the act. All councillors went along with him and were complicit in this violation.

The re-elected councillors who are now voting to get rid of question period are councillors Budz, Wall, Espey, Draycott and Mayor Ferris. New councillors Sharilyn Knox and Preston Meier voted in agreement as well.

Final readings and votes will be Feb. 25 at council.

Council is tightening control on the information that becomes public. Rarely is there a debate or disagreeing votes on motions brought forward! Why do we need six councillors if they are always voting in unison? What’s really going on? Come to council on Feb. 25.

Luanne Anderson

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