Friday, February 16, 2007

Democracy--Lip Action Only!


For your information, attached are 2 recent letters sent to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and also to Oshawa This Week Letters to the Editor that analyzes and undermines the elementary argument that some councillors have made, "we have to accept the public will on the referendum if we accept their decision in electing us."

I would also request prior notice when any item concerning the ward/general vote issue is to be discussed at council and a standing request to address council "on short notice" regarding any and all of these items when City Hall guidelines make it impossible to meet the existing guidelines.

At the February 5th meeting of Council, for example, it was blatantly undemocratic to have an important item on the agenda whereby council was going to consider a staff report suggesting that council could adapt a general vote and avoid any appeal to the OMB as long as they maintained the existing wards. It was required that objectors to this strategy had to request to address council by Wednesday, January 31, 2007, even though this report was not made available to the public until after City Hall closed on Friday, February 2, 2007.

These timelines seem designed to stifle any public objection and public input to this important decision and thus is blatantly undemocratic...the principle that some councillors have flagged as the very reason why they supported the referendum result despite their best judgement that the ward system is best for Oshawa.

The referendum question was gerrymandered continually by the last city council until they got the "right" question...right because it would produce the desired result. There was nothing democratic in this. Also, Council kept the public in the dark regarding any rationale for the change and any benefits from the change to be accrued to Oshawa. Nothing democratic in that either. Democracy requires an informed public and council refused and continues to refuse to inform them. Those who claim "Democracy" should not keep the public in the dark. Those who claim "Democracy" should not continue to use the word while working to pull a "self serving fast-one" on the Oshawa public.

Council should become far more open and democratic. In the end, it will not "fool" the public about the manoeuvring on this ward/general vote issue to get the result that they wanted and make Oshawa "unique" in the country by becoming by far the largest city to adapt the general vote without also adapting a political party system as in Vancouver.

There is evidence already that if we have the general vote, a political party which will utilize a growing "Revolution of Public Ill-Will" will spring up to return ward voting to Oshawa and will utilize this negative public sentiment against the self serving actions of this council to remove those supporting a change to the general vote.

We are presently working on our organizational plans to "harness" the negative public energies that will be focussed on an impossible ballot in any General Vote containing the names of 50 or more candidates. In the event of ward voting, we will organize the wards defeat those who have proven they are more interested in their own council seats than in serving the interests of the city. In the event of a general vote, the city will be organized for the same purpose.


Bill Longworth,
Founder & Chair of VOTES (Vote to Eliminate Self Serving Politicians)
159 Spirea Court,
Oshawa, Ontario

905 579 3971

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