Council Charter: Letter to the Editors, Mayor and Council and the Public #2

On Monday, August 17, Councillors will be asked to sign a document which will, in essence, limit their ability to represent themselves and the public and me, in favour of a set of doctrines which, while not offensive as philosophy, become so when taken as a religion, carved in stone and signed and sealed.

7. ADMINISTRATION:
(a) Council Charter, Role of Mayor, Role of Councillor, Council-Staff Relations Protocol, Mayor Declaration, Councillor Declaration
As per Council direction 2015-AUG-10: To make available at the Regular Council Meeting to be held 2015-AUG-17, the adopted City of Nanaimo Council Charter, Role of Councillor, Role of Mayor, and Council-Staff Protocol Charter for signing by any members of Council who wish to sign.  

I don’t know how much the citizens of Nanaimo have paid for this Council Charter, a collection of practices which are aimed at reducing the friction sometimes seen at Council, not a bad thing in itself, but guaranteed to lead to the tedious declaring of a breech of the Council Charter with a snappy “Point of Order” in the case of anyone who has signed this dangerous beast.

I expect to hear cogent and sometimes heated debate on the issues facing the City of Nanaimo.  Politics is an unruly undertaking serving a very broad spectrum of the public in a representative democracy, and I expect those who represent me to stick to the oaths of office which they have taken, to the law in general, and to remain officially unencumbered by a blanket of additional and artificial good thoughts about how to behave.  We hope that our Council, like our citizens, are aware of the parameters of good civic behaviour, and will attempt to comply.  But to ask them to comply not just with the law and their oath, but with an artifice such as this so-called Council Charter is a long step too far.

Ron Bolin

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