A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Municipality of …. Norm Sterling?

The time has come to embrace municipal party politics as part of a major reform to give greater purpose and direction to Ontario’s major cities, former Conservative cabinet minister Norm Sterling says. “

It would seem that the Ontario PCs are not much different from the federal lot, they all seem to believe that political partisanship equates with “greater purpose and direction” but fail to see that it only holds true if said believers have total control and no regard for the views of others. It is true that in SOME cases “ They each have their own little fiefdoms, and they tend to those fiefdoms. Councillors do not have an interest in the whole, only in their own bailiwick,” but how pray tell is that any different from our Provincial or Federal representatives? How will bringing another layer of opinion and political pressure (quite probably from outside the local area) to municipal decision making improve the process?

Fortunately there are some within the Ontario PCs with more insight than Mr Sterling, MPP Bill Murdoch who invariably puts his constituents first before party politics has come out strongly against this idea. I am not sure how much impact Bill will have upon discussions on this as it seems, as is all too typical with our political partys, he has been previously kicked out for speaking when not agreeing with the party line. Please note that “Sterling says the views he is expressing are his alone, and he has not discussed his vision for change with new Ontario Conservative party leader Tim Hudak. Still, he plans to do so and, at the very least, push his caucus to undertake a review if his party comes to power.” The party has said “This is two MPPs individual opinions, the party has no position on this.”

That all said this sort of idea must be quickly and thoroughly debunked before the idea takes hold. Municipal politics remains one of the few places where citizens have at least some chance of being heard and having an impact upon decisions, the interference of political partys into the process can only make for MORE entrenched positions and less effort at compromise and agreement. Let us at least try and keep party politics out of municipal council chambers because if Provincial and Federal legislatures are any example party politics is increasingly detracting from our democracy not adding to it.

One final note here:- I must recognize, as must any who would consider this proposal, that there is no comparison between (say) Toronto Municipal Council operations and typical rural municipality with 4 or 5 councilors, or for that matter with Mr Murdoch’s home city of Owen Sound’s Council. But even so I cannot see how more “politics” can help even a large city be more efficient and accountable to the citizens for whom they work!

Cross posted at Democracy Under Fire

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