Craig’s Commentary

 Volume 1 Number 34

21 August  2011

Sauble Stooges Blame Residents For Tourist Litter

 Editor, OSST:

 The group “SaveSaubleBeach” measures success in terms of business profit from events (letter: Beach businesses benefit from events, August 13th).  Of course businesses profit.  More than $60,000 is stolen from taxpayers and given to the chamber of commerce to attract tourists, and the tourists come, and the tourism businesses make money.  The businesses benefit because they’re heavily and illegally subsidized by residential taxpayers.

 But for those taxpayers who pay the $60,000, and then pay for the cleanup, and then lose their recreational use of the beach, and then pay through loss of quiet enjoyment of their homes, the “events” are no success at all.

 The August 13 letter writers say “did you know that Sauble Beach won prizes?”  What they don’t say is that the prizes are given out by their own Festivals and Events Ontario organization.  The events organizers gave themselves a prize.  So what?

 In their portrayal of the beach covered with tourist litter, and of kids on the beach wearing gas masks (see the cartoon logo published with the August 13 letter), the letter writers seem to want us to believe that some people, including me, Ministry of Natural Resources officials, and many others, are somehow preventing town staff and volunteer residents from picking up the tourist litter, and are as a result putting children at risk of suffocation.

 This portrayal of the beach by the Save Sauble Beachg roup is misleading and preposterous.

 Garbage cans line the beach, and are emptied regularly. A gang of taxpayer-paid students walks the beach every day picking up tourist litter.  Many volunteers, including me, disgusted at the mess left by the worst of the tourists, walk the beach picking up tourist litter, including lots of broken glass.  Rather than making the beach risky for children, we are making the beach safer.

 The driftwood on the beach North of Sixth has been identified as Piping Plover habitat, and by provincial law it must remain.  And ever since a small band of volunteers removed all of the nails from the driftwood, it is hardly a hazard to anybody.

 Grooming the beach results in sand loss. This makes a wetter beach and significantly increases the amount of bacteria in the near shore sand.  Eliminating the grooming makes the beach more comfortable and also safer.

 The letter writers disrespectfully address me as “not a full time resident of Sauble Beach….”

 In October 2010, ward three candidate Jessica Huzak, apparently oblivious to the fact that two-thirds of ward three residents are seasonal, attacked the seasonal residents, called us “transients”, and suggested that we “transients” had no business participating in any community discussions or policy discussions.   On October 25, 2010 voters responded appropriately to Ms. Huzak’s vitriolic comments.

 The Sauble Stooges (letter writers “Larry” Cowles, Brian “Curly” Atkins, and Jacob “Moe” Arnold) seem to have learned nothing from Ms. Huzak’s lesson.  In suggesting that I should keep my mouth shut because I am “not a full time resident”, they are by implication saying that two-thirds of the ward should just keep their mouths shut.  In suggesting that anyone in the town who doesn’t agree with them should shut up and go back toToronto, they have offended not only the two-thirds of ward three voters who are “seasonal”, but also the whole ward, and the whole town.

 The August 13 letter writers also indicated that they view me as “giving [more] negative advice on what we should do to improveSaubleBeachthan anyone else in our wonderful community.”

 I have written letters: criticizing the illegal giveaway of taxpayers’ money to the chamber; supporting protection of the Plover habitat, and; criticizing the destructive grooming practice.  My comments are in support of the residents, in support of the town, in support of a healthy beach, and in support of the Piping Plovers.

 But my comments have never been supportive of any Sauble Chamber organization dedicated to stealing our money and our beach.

 So I must decline the Chamber’s award for the most “negative advice on what we should do to improve Sauble Beach”.  While I have not yet figured out what the award is for, I am quite sure the Sauble Stooges deserve it more than I.

 The three stooges of 1950’s TV and movies were ridiculous and funny.  The Sauble Stooges aren’t all that funny.

 Craig Gammie



Subject: Fwd: Banking in Toronto

A  Newfie walked into a bank in Toronto and asked for the loans  officer. He told the loans officer that he was going to  Newfoundland on business for two weeks and needed to borrow  $5,000, however he was not a depositor of the bank. The bank  officer told him that the bank would need some form of security  for the loan, so the Newfie handed over the keys to a new  Ferrari.
The car was parked on the street in front of the bank.   The Newfie produced the title and everything checked out.  The loan officer agreed to hold the car as collateral for the  loan and apologized for having to charge 12% interest. 

Later, the bank’s president and its officers all enjoyed  a good laugh at the Newfie for using a $250,000 Ferrari as  collateral for a $5,000 loan. An employee of the bank then drove  the Ferrari into the bank’s underground garage and parked it.  Two weeks later, the Newfie returned, repaid the $5,000 and the  interest of $23.07. The loan officer said, ‘Sir, we are very  happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked  out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were  away, we checked you out and found that you are a  multimillionaire. What puzzles us is, why would you bother to  borrow $5,000?’

The  Newfie replied: ‘Where else in Toronto can I park my car for two  weeks for only $23.07 and expect it to be there when I return?’ 

Ah, Newfies…… See! Salt Beef is good for the  brain.

Craig’s Commentary

Volume 1 Number 33

14 August 2011

RE:  August 16, 2011 Committee of the Whole Agenda

 (For the complete agenda package, click:  August 16 Agenda Package )

 Part “A” – List of select items from COW agenda package August 16 2011

  4.1. 9:00 am John Strachan-Pine Grove Park-Sewer Option 5a Objection

 4.2. 9:30 am John Chivers and Brad Casemore-Sauble Sno Riders-Clubhouse

 4.3. 10:00 am Bill Murdoch MPP-Friends of the Airport-Future of the Airport

 4.4. 11:00 am Sue Siebert-Friends of Sauble Beach-Dunes and Sandfence

 5.2.      Signs and Posts at Oliphant-Councillor McKenzie

 5.5. Residential Streets Used by ATVS-CouncillorJackson

 5.6. Correspondence from Pat Varley-Councillor Bowman

 5.8. SWSRAHC1-2011 Extension of Council ESR Consideration Date

 5.12. CLK45-2011 Policy Manual Amendment, Policy C.4.2 Harassment

 5.14. CLK47-2011 Health Unit Initiative, Smoke-Free Recreation Spaces and Beaches

 5.19. PW72-2011JewelBridge

 5.20. PW73-2011 Water Meter By-Law Update

 5.21. PW74-2011 Wiarton Infrastructure Assessment

 5.22. PW75-2011 Digital Sign forSaubleBeach

 5.25. PW78-2011 Variance to Budget-Amabel-Sauble Water System

 6.2. August 9, 2011 By-Law 99-2011 ThirdReading

 6.3. August 9, 2011 Council Minutes Item 12; Schedule A Item 5, Consent Agenda

Item 5.2 Procedural By-Law Schedule A and By-Laws-Councillor Bowman

 Part “B”  Craig’s Comments on a few agenda items

 4.2. 9:30 am John Chivers and Brad Casemore-Sauble Sno Riders-Clubhouse

 It seems that the sno-riders want council to sell them some town land at far below market value.  They suggest that they should get the deep discount because they do so much for the town.  Town land is owned by the inhabitants.  If town land is sold at a deep discount, all inhabitants, except the ones who get the land at the deep discount, are poorer.  We don’t want to be unnecessarily poorer.  Council should say no.  And while the sno-riders may indeed help the tourism industry, the tourism industry is not the town, and the sno-riders do not really help the “town”.  And while everyone appreciates people volunteering time for the community, asking to be paid (discount land) for volunteer efforts makes it seem just a bit less “voluntary”.  The sno-riders should buy land in the open market like everyone else.

 5.5.                                                                                                                                              Residential Streets Used by ATVS-Councillor Jackson


Ban ATV’s from residential streets!

 5.6.   Correspondence from Pat Varley-Councillor Bowman

 The “Correspondence from Pat Varley” is an e-mail conversation between Pat Varley and CAO Cook about the capital and monthly operating bills faced by Sauble area small water systems users.  In the e-mails Ms. Varley objects to the bills and Ms. Cook responds.

 Former Mayor Carl Noble (2002 – 2006) chose to combine and upgrade both the Sauble area water systems and the Oliphant area water systems when other far less costly alternatives were readily at hand.  In my view, the choice was made to help a personal agenda of getting communal water and sewers for all of Sauble, in order to support development of Sauble into a community of big hotels, rows of townhouses, high-rise condos, and maybe a casino or two.  The big-pipe scheme failed, but the small water systems debacle has still cost small water users dearly.  Small water users will end up paying $7800 plus interest for mostly unnecessary upgrades.

 To make matters worse, Carl Noble repeatedly defamed those citizens who protested the madness, falsely accusing them of causing the long delays and increased costs.

 Now COA Cook has, by broadcasting the same lies, defamed those same citizens, and one more.

 The August 16 Agenda Package page 42 has these words from Rhonda Cook to Pat Varley:

 There were circumstances that delayed the project.  One of these is that it was determined late in the contract by the MOE that because of [sic] the raw water was under the influence of ground water an additional UV bulb would be required and this was complete in Mar. 2010.  South Bruce Peninsula Council determined that those receiving the benefit will pay and staff followed that direction.  As you are aware there were bump-up requests on this system dated Feb. 21, 2004 and I have that document showing you as well as Orma Lyttle, Yvonne Harron, R. Gammie, Doug Gammie and Craig Gammie were the signators requesting this bump up.

 In the context of the letter from CAO Cook to Ms. Varley, it is clear that CAO Cook is saying that the bump-up requests were one of the “circumstances” that caused delays and significant cost increases.  CAO Cook is dead wrong.  The delays were caused by then-mayor Carl Noble.  And the massive costs were due to Carl Noble.  And bump-up requests do not cause delays and extra costs.  Even orders by the minister to fix bad proposals do not cause delays.  It’s the bad proposals submitted not in good faith that cause the delays.   CAO Cook’s comment is defamatory.

 And especially defamatory is the implied statement, by CAO Cook, that taxpayer and resident R. Gammie, who never saw a bump up request, and never signed any bump up request, and who was never involved in any discussions of small water systems, and who knows nothing about any of this, caused delays and high costs.

 Council needs to really put some thought into how to make this whole small water systems debacle right for those on the small water systems.

 And council also needs to address the rogue CAO issue.

 5.8. SWSRAHC1-2011 Extension of Council ESR Consideration Date

 In October 2010, Genivar and town staff said not only that they don’t know if there’s a problem, but also that we should solve “the problem” with $70-million-dollar “option 5a”, sewers for everyone at sauble.   At least $28,000 per residence and they admitted they don’t even know if a problem exists.  An understanding council looked at the draft Environmental Study Report (ESR) of December 2010, which still did not define a problem but still had the $70 million (option 5a) “solution”, and put the ESR in a holding pattern until an ad hoc committee could determine if there is a problem related to human waste management atSaubleBeach.

 It was hoped that the committee would have answers by August and that the fate of the ESR could be decided shortly after.  The ad hoc committee is making some progress, but it’s going to take well beyond August to do the job right.  That means the decision on the ESR needs to wait. 

 5.12. CLK45-2011 Policy Manual Amendment, Policy C.4.2 Harassment

 I agree with updating the Harassment Policy.  And I agree that harassing e-mails sent to the workplace are a form of workplace harassment, not to be tolerated.

 But criticism of a staff employee on a blog is not workplace harassment, especially if it is not a work related role for the employee to be reading the blog.  So while the Town should not condone anything harassing on the blog, the town has no obligation or mandate to deal with anything said on the blog.

 I am concerned that some of the proposed updates to the harassment policy are put there just to try to define comments on the blog as “workplace harassment” in order to justify paying Rhonda’s legal fees for her personal crusade against the bloggers.

 For example, the draft policy says:

In accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, harassment means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome.

 But in fact the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) does not say that at all.  OHSA includes the extra word “workplace”, as follows:

 “workplace harassment” means engaging in a course of vexatious comment or conduct against a worker in a workplace that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome;

 The TSBP draft version is actually wrong and nonsensical.

 And the TSBP draft policy adds this to the definition of workplace:

 Internet, email, correspondence, weblogs or social networking sites

 And while the current policy says:

 2.3.2 Where appropriate we will begin to investigate all harassment complaints immediately,

 The draft policy says:

 2.3.2 We will begin to investigate all harassment complaints immediately.

 So by defining “harassment” as “workplace harassment”, and by defining weblogs as the “workplace” and by promising to investigate all “harassment complaints”, the new draft policy has been skillfully written to require the town to “immediately investigate” complaints, by employees, about the blog.

 And to Rhonda this means the town buying her a lawyer to hunt down the bloggers.

 Which means that the policy requires the town to intervene in what is clearly a private, non-work matter.

 The draft policy needs to be rewritten so that it deals with real workplace harassment.

 And we need to stop paying public funds for what is a private matter.

 By the way, could someone please tell Rhonda, or her lawyer, (that is the lawyer we’re paying for), that the person on the blog who writes under the name of “Craig” is me, Craig Gammie.  I can be reached at 519 422 3599.  I surrender myself not as an admission of guilt, but rather to minimize the investigative and legal costs – (the ones that we are paying) – associated with the incredibly enormous task of finding out my true identity.

 5.19. PW72-2011 Jewel Bridge

 MPW Dwyer has put two alternatives on the table.  One is to refurbish Jewell bridge, at a cost of $390,000.  The other is to extend six street eastward to connect withSpring Creek Road, complete with a new bridge ($2,800,000), and keepJewellBridgefor pedestrian traffic only.

 MPW Phil wants council approval to start Archaeological/Heritage studies for the new (sixth street) bridge.

 As usual, MPW Phil is doing the driving without any guidance from the public or the representatives.

 Building a sixth street bridge would have implications for taxpayers, including a lot more traffic for some, and significant costs for all.

 We should have a discussion about the alternatives before we start doing studies on one alternative that might not even be OK with the public.

 5.20. PW73-2011 Water Meter By-Law Update

 I still don’t think it’s right to repeatedly tell water system users that meters won’t cost them a cent, then borrow money on their behalf to pay for the meters, then add a little note to the first blended principle and interest installment bill that says “just to be clear, we meant that there would be no down payment, not that there wouldn’t be any cost”, then pass a bylaw that says you must install the water meter or pay a big fine (along with the monthly won’t-cost-a-cent payments).

 MPW Phil signed a contract for purchase and installation of water meters on the assumption that it would be paid for with grants.  That was a big mistake.  The grants did not materialize.  That left MPW Phil with a choice of not installing and paying a contract penalty clause or breaching the won’t-cost-a-cent promise and forcing people to install the meters and charging them on the installment plan.

 The financial smoke and mirrors and the by-law are just to cover up MPW Phil’s mistake.

 The meters should be returned and the contract penalty and restocking charge should be taken out of MPW Phil’s salary.

 5.22. PW75-2011 Digital Sign for Sauble Beach

 Why not cancel the project?  Our Natural Retreat doesn’t need a digital sign.

 6.2. August 9, 2011 By-Law 99-2011 Third Reading

 Over the past few months, council, for the pleasure of the Sauble chamber, waived much of the dynamic beach by-law for “events”, and made events noise exempt from the provisions of the noise by-law.  To maintain some control during events in the absence of by-laws, an events policy was developed.  Many said it would not work.  And it hasn’t.

 Hooligans have taken over.   Loud noise, people swearing over the gazillion watt PA system, drinking all over the beach, broken glass on the beach, barbecuing on the beach, dogs on the beach, fireworks on the beach, tents on the beach, sleeping trailers on the beach….you name it, if it’s bad, it’s on the beach.

 So now the community gets to give the Chamber $60,000 to entice the hooligans to come by the busload to Sauble, then the community gets to give up part of their beach to the hooligans and their Chamber hosts, then the community gets to listen to the racket all day long, and then the community gets to clean up the mess after the hung-over hooligans pack into their buses and go home.

 I guess that’s why some council members are calling them community events.

 By-law 99-2011 (the events policy) has one redeeming feature.

 Section 4.8 reads:

 “The Town reserves the right to cancel any scheduled Special Event and revoke any approvals in order to ensure public safety, or if in the sole opinion of the Town, the Event Organizer fails to comply with the Special Events Guidelines or any other Town by-law.”

 For the “24-weeks” events, the events organizer, the Chamber, has failed miserably.  All chamber events, which are not community events, must be cancelled, and theDynamicBeachand Noise by-laws must be restored to their former state.

 And the real community events should be run not as tourism events but rather as community events, by a real community organization – not a tourism organization.

 And council should require that the Chamber return our $60,000.

 6.3. August 9, 2011 Council Minutes Item 12; Schedule A Item 5, Consent Agenda

Item 5.2 Procedural By-Law Schedule A and By-Laws-Councillor Bowman

 Rule A14.6 of the policy manual reads:

 “After the first and second reading of a by-law, any member may ask to debate the by-law, and that by-law shall be referred to Committee of the Whole under “Items referred from Council or Committee of the Whole” for further debate, or with the consent of the majority of members present may be debated at the current meeting.”

 A recommendation to council developed in the Committee of the whole meeting August 2nd, was that rule A14.6 be interpreted as:

 “After the first and second reading of a by-law, any member may ask that the by-law be referred to Committee of the whole for debate, and whether to do so will be decided by vote.  Any by-law not sent to COW, with the consent of the majority of members present, may be debated at the current meeting.”

 On August 9, council rejected that recommendation (by defeating a motion to accept it), and also decided to make the rule clear that:

 “if after first and second reading of a by-law any councillor asks that a bylaw go to COW for debate, then it shall [voice of determination] go to COW for debate (but not repeatedly)”.

 The item on the August 16 agenda is to get the wording right.


Craig’s Commentary

 Volume 1 Number 32

14 August  2011

Chalk One Up For Democracy

 In my Commentary 31 of August 7th, (called Mayor John Close’s Tyranny-of-the-Majority), I indicated that Mayor Close was attempting to shut out debate of bylaws by removing a councillor’s right to send a by-law to committee for debate.

 I called the attempt tyrannical, and urged honest members of council to oppose it.

 I took one look at the ways Mayor Close and CAO Cook had in just a few months replaced the agenda of the people with their own agenda – giving the Sauble Chamber $60,000 of taxpayers money, waiving most of the Dynamic Beach By-law for the pleasure of the Chamber, making Chamber events exempt from the noise by-law, flouting the liquor control laws for Chamber events, and much more.

 And to be very candid I did not hold out much hope that the honest ones could stop the Cook/Close siege on democracy.

 But I must confess that I seriously underestimated not only the come-from-behind rallying power of council members, but also their resolve to do what’s right for the citizens of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.

 In the August 9 COW meeting Councillor Janice Jackson led the charge, with an impassioned speech about how the “send-it-for-debate” rule and the debate itself are so critical to council making decisions that are in the public interest.

 Then Councillors Jackson, Bowman, Thomas, McKenzie, and Standen forcefully argued the “send-it-for-debate” position, skillfully debating, and deftly countering all opposition from the fast-shrinking “tyranny-of-the-majority” gang.  CouncillorsKirklandand Klages seemed to have some reservations, but were at least very open-minded about it.

 And in the end council defeated the motion that would have removed a councillor’s right to send a by-law for debate.  And to top it off Councillor Bowman introduced a motion to revise the wording of rule A14.6 so that it will be absolutely crystal clear that “if after first and second reading of a by-law any councillor asks that a bylaw go to COW for debate, then it shall [voice of determination] go for debate (but not repeatedly)”.

 Kudo’s to council.


 Citizen Craig





Suicide or Herbicide????

We are all such trusting suckers up here in the Bruce and in Canada generally..

We trust the Bankers, we trust the Lawyers and we trust the thieves without challenge!

“So and so is a great leader, he wouldn’t do anything to hurt us ” is the common cry!!

I was sitting with one of our local politicians having our coffee and discussing the general state of affairs of our little town, when a constituent approach us. The man was clearly upset! Without prodding the gentleman explained that Ontario Hydro was spraying herbicide in his neighborhood to kill weeds and such under their right away. It seems that while they were spraying this gentleman happened to walk thorough a cloud of mist being sprayed. Not something that I would do!

Within twenty minutes the man was whisked to the hospital emergency ward for treatment as he was blind! This blindness stayed with him for five hours after treatment.

The gentleman, the next day approached the Hydro workers still in the neighbourhood asking for the product they were using, sharing his experience with them. 

The Ontario Hydro workers explained that the product they were using as harmless as “Salt”  and he was confused and that his problem was the cause of something else.

The product, produced by Dow Chemical called Garlon RTU Herbicide, is listed below:

Now in reading through the fine print I note that the product is listed as “Highly toxic to aquatic organisms”This is nasty shit ! Why is it being used?? Why are we allowing it???

The warnings say to use respiratory protection. In the notes we are advise there is no “Specific antidote” and warnings say “Do not swallow/avoid skin contact/Avoid breathing amongst other things.

Be happy knowing that it did not cause birth defects in rats but is highly toxic to aquatic organisms and advises that it is only slightly toxic to birds.( Is that like being sorta pregnant??)

By the way the rats didn’t get cancer either in their testing.

I spoke with some folks in the business and they told me this stuff is broadleaf killer, but makes round up look like holy water!

I think it is a crime! Call your council and tell them to stop this. Call your MP and MPP and give them what for.

We live here with our children and grand children and don’t want his shit here!!!! Go back to cutting and making wood chip we do not want poison in our water!!!



Craig’s Commentary

 Volume 1 Number 31

7 August  2011

Democracy under siege part 2 – Mayor John Close’s Tyranny-of-the-Majority

 Our form of government is democracy.  Many wrongly believe that democracy means “majority rule”.  In fact it doesn’t.  Democracy means effective participation by the people.

 We have a system in which the majority (or more accurately a majority of elected representatives) decides the laws, by vote in a legislature, or in parliament, or in a local council chamber. 

 If there were no checks and balances on the majority-decide-the-laws system, then we could have a situation where the majority could just make laws and policies that allowed them to take from the minority and give to themselves.  We would have a system where the majority of representatives could make policy not in the public interest but rather in their own interest, at the expense of the public interest.

 Political scientists call this abuse of the majority-decide system a tyranny-of-the-majority. Tyranny-of-the-majority turns our system from a rule-of-law system to a rule-of-majority system and to a rule-of-man system.

 To prevent our majority-decide system from becoming a tyranny-of-the-majority system we have many checks and safeguards on our majority-decide system.  Because these checks and safeguards take precedence over the preference of the majority of representatives, it is incorrect to call our system a majority-rule system.   Our system is rule-of-law, or more accurately rule-of-duly-developed-law.  Our system is not rule-of-majority.

 The checks and safeguards include the constitution acts, (and especially the charter of freedoms and rights including freedom of speech), the mandate and role of the Senate, the requirement in law that discussions of law and policy be completely open to the public (with a few exceptions), the ability of the courts to declare laws unconstitutional, and many parts of Acts of parliament and provincial legislatures.

 We also have role of Ombudsman in making sure that theOntariogovernment is not abusing its powers. The Ombudsman also has a role in preventing municipal abuse by investigating closed council meeting conduct.

 Another safeguard is a requirement for declaration of pecuniary interest and exclusion from debate and vote where there is a pecuniary interest.

 The Municipal Act is a safeguard as it provides limits on council powers regardless of any majority wishes.  Safeguards of particular interest are section 106 and 107.  Section 106 prohibits local municipal councils from giving money (called “bonusing” in the Act) to commercial enterprises, regardless of how strong a majority supports the “bonusing”.  Section 107 prohibits grants unless council considers them in the interest of the municipality.

 Another safeguard against tyranny-of-the-majority is rule A14.6 of the TSBP policy manual.  The rule is:

 “After the first and second reading of a by-law, any member may ask to debate the by-law, and that by-law shall be referred to Committee of the Whole under “Items referred from Council or Committee of the Whole” for further debate, or with the consent of the majority of members present may be debated at the current meeting.”

 In the 2011 June 28 council meeting, after the first and second reading of by-law 83-2011, three councilors were minuted indicating (requiring) that they wanted by-law 83 sent to COW for debate.  These were Councilors, Standen, Thomas, and Bowman.  CouncilorJacksonalso asked that the by-law be sent to COW for debate, but this was not captured in the minutes.

 According to the procedural by-law section A14.6, which indicates that the by-law shall go to COW upon request of any member, the by-law should have gone to COW.

 But instead of sending the by-law to COW as required by rule A14.6 , whether to send it to COW was  inappropriately put to a vote, (which was  defeated).

 By allowing debate on whether by-law 83-2011should go to COW for debate, and by allowing a vote on whether by-law 83-2011should go for debate (which was defeated), council breached policy manual by-law 56 – 2011 section A14.6), and also flouted the parliamentary system.

 Rule A14.6 is absolutely clear.  There is no ambiguity or uncertainty.

 When challenged on the breach of rule A14.6, Mayor Close and Clerk Cathrae, clucking their “majority-rules” mantra, insisted that rule A14.6 meant that:

 “After the first and second reading of a by-law, any member may ask to debate the by-law, and with the consent of the majority of members present that by-law shall be referred to Committee of the Whole under “Items referred from Council or Committee of the Whole” for further debate.”

 The Close/ Cathrae interpretation is a ridiculous and deliberate misreading of rule A14.6.  The misreading is based only on the mistaken notion that we have a majority-rule system and that the rule of the majority takes precedence over the safeguards against tyranny-of -the majority. 

 The ridiculous misreading is based on the mistaken notion that if one councillor wants to have fulsome informed debate of a by-law and the majority of council does not want fulsome informed public debate then the will of the majority takes precedence over the rule of law that requires that  the by-law “shall … go to COW for debate” if any (one) councillor so requires.

 In the August 2nd meeting, Councillor Kirkland indicated that he supported the misreading of A14.6 because he felt that A14.6 taken literally would allow one councillor to repeatedly send a by-law back to COW for more debate, effectively holding that by-law up forever and preventing council from moving forward.  Counillor Kirkland indicated that this would be very bad.

 Conucillor Kirkland’s fears are unfounded.  Rule A14.6, taken literally, provides that a single councillor can send a by-law to COW for debate only after first and second reading, meaning it can be sent back to COW under rule A14.6 only once.  Councillor Kirkland’s endless-debate scenario is a preposterous red herring.

 In the August 2nd COW, members decided to modify rule A14.9 so that it will read that while a member may ask that a by-law go to COW for debate,  the decision of whether the by-law goes to COW for debate will be put to a vote.

 In my view, Mayor Close and Clerk Cathrae, with support from councillors Turner andKirkland, are making a ridiculous interpretation of rule A14.6 for the express purpose of shutting both councillors and the public out of the public policy debate, and out of the public’s business.

 The irony is that on August 2nd, in a classic case of tyranny-of-the-majority, some council members, using their majority-rule tyranny, voted to remove a safeguard against tyranny-of-the majority, thereby strengthening their tyranny-of-the-majority.

 (The audio of the August 2nd discussion of rule 14.6 is quite entertaining.  It will soon be on the saublesewer website.)

 It is clear that the vote was made to shut out informed debate, and to shut out the public, (because informed debate might interfere with the agenda of the tyrants).  And the agenda of the tyrants is not the agenda of the people.

 The tyrants of the 2006 – 2010 Council frequently abused the majority-decide system by simply using the majority-decide system to suspend or modify any procedural rule that got in the way of their tyrannical agenda.  The public suffered.

 Now certain members of the current council are doing the same, with full support from the misguided clerk (who inappropriately participated in the policy discussion – see the link to the audio record above).

 Fortunately the August 2nd decision is only a recommendation to council, and council has an opportunity in the August 9th Council meeting to reject the tyrannical recommendation.

 Council should do the right thing.

 When the schedule “A” item 5 recommendation (to change the Procedural By-Law section A14.6) comes before council on August 9, I can only hope that the honest members of council will: vote in the public interest; oppose the siege on democracy; stand up to the tyrants; and defeat the schedule “A” item 5 recommendation.