To the Mayor and Council
Oshawa City Hall,
c/o Oshawa City Clerk
cc: Letters to the Editor
I addressed the Budget and Audit Committee today with a request for a partnership grant to have an information brochure regarding Oshawa's proposed change to the general vote prepared and distributed to all residence doors in Oshawa. Unfortunately, the committee did not support my request.
I continue to believe that information must be circulated to the public regarding this very important issue.
It is difficult to understand that city council would place such a high priority on communicating some items like "Stephen Colbert Day--the Mayor's birthday celebration", and a multitude of very professional, glossy paper, full colour brochures on topics ranging from "A Walking Tour of Oshawa's Natural Areas", The Grand Opening of GM Place, Communities in Bloom Brochure, Amazing Facts Promotional Brochure, Oshawa Winter Celebrations, Oshawa's Pest Management Plan, A walking Tour of Oshawa's Gardens, 2006 Inside Oshawa, etc., etc., etc. but refuse to provide any information about the change to the general vote. This is serious misplacement of priorities.
If council wants you to know, they spare no expense...if they don't want you to know, they photostat "the minimum" and pitch it in your garbage. You can tell what they want you to know by the quality of their communication to you. So why do they not want us to know about the change to the general vote? What are they hiding? Is there a hidden agenda in their lack of communication? I think there is!
In comparison to the very professional brochures listed above, the flyer sent to all residences informing the public of the meeting in respect of the change to the general vote was a cheaply printed flyer that could have been photostated on cheap letterhead paper. It looked so unimpressive that it could have been mistaken for a mass mailing advertising flyer and thrown in the garbage before attracting any attention whatsoever. It simply gave date, purpose, location, time of the meeting along with a legalese bylaw that would not promote any interest whatsoever. It certainly is a different style from the fancy colour brochures that the city prepares when it wants to promote something or wants something to be noticed.
The question has to be asked..."Why did Oshawa refuse to provide information and why are they still refusing to do so?" Is this failure to disclose necessary information some part of a hidden political agenda? Is the failure to disclose information an attempt to dampen public debate on the issue? Is it the mushroom strategy, "Feed the people sh-t and keep them in the dark?
In any case, this failure to properly inform the public demonstrates a severe disrespect for the taxpayers of Oshawa.
Democracy is a basic value of our society and the "Free World" knows that a democracy is dependent upon an informed public. Council, however, has refused to provide the necessary public information. Therefore the whole plebiscite process was seriously flawed and cannot be considered a gauge of public opinion by any reasonable person.
The citizens of Oshawa needed to know what the general vote was, what deficiencies there were with the ward system to precipitate putting the plebiscite question on the ballot, and what benefits the general vote would be expected to bring to Oshawa.
Without answers to those questions, voters could not and cannot give an informed opinion...therefore the plebiscite result is inconsequential. If council was unwilling to provide the information, they should not have asked the question.
Council members who state that they believe the ward system is best but continue to support the plebiscite result should be reasonably expected to rethink their position. They should be voting against the plebiscite result as a flawed strategy that can not at all pretend to reflect public opinion.
Despite all external variables, voters certainly expect councillors as informed experts to vote for what they believe to be best for the city.
The majority of council by publicly stating that they support ward voting are in the same breath saying that the people were wrong in their vote to change to the general vote and these council members should start thinking about the reasons for the discrepancy between their personal view and that of the public as expressed on the plebiscite. Perhaps they may come to the conclusion that the plebiscite process was flawed.
In any case, I believe that public information continues to be important and thus still feel that a professionally prepared brochure needs to be prepared and distributed to the public.
Because the committee did not support this request, I would request to address the full city council when the committee recommendation re my partnership grant is considered.
Please advise me of this date and confirm that I am on the council agenda as a delegation.