CFN – An odd sequence of events Monday as Cornwall City Council created a special meeting to review infrastructure – IE get reports on its buildings. Certainly not an emergency issue. Bewildering why it could not be added to the agenda of the next meeting.
What was even more curious was why Mayor Robert “Bob” Kilger decided to personally deliver a document to each councilor yet not share with the media in attendance.
Not only that the city has rebuffed initial requests as to the contents of that document which Mayor Kilger made a point of stating was a report/letter by Economic Dev’s Bob Peters.
Speaking to exec assistant Diane Brown this morning she suggested it was the letter that the mayor sent to Mr. Harper over the Passport contract leaving Cornwall that was released this morning.
October 16, 2012
The Right Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C. M.P.
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Dear Mr. Harper:
There has been a strong negative reaction to the Government of Canada’s recent decision to award a contract for the production of Canadian Passport covers to a new company, one that will see production shift overseas. Canadian Passport Covers are currently being manufactured in Cornwall by Columbia Finishing Mills, a Canadian company owned by Canadians. It is my understanding the loss of the passport contract will result in the loss of jobs at Columbia Finishing Mills, and potentially mean that machines will sit idle and the production capability might eventually be lost.
While the City of Cornwall respects the objective nature of any tendering process, in this particular case we would respectfully ask for a review of this particular decision.
Canadian Passports are more than a necessary legal travel document. Passports are, to many Canadians, the only concrete and physical evidence of their citizenship, and their inclusion in what many people consider to be the best country in the world. As such, the Passport should be produced in Canada, and Columbia Finishing Mills has been a key partner in ensuring that Canadian content was there in the past. A review of the tender decision should consider this question, and take into account the expectations of Canadians. Most would agree, we believe, that a few cents is more than an acceptable price to pay for Canadian Content, especially when costs of production can be covered in the document fee itself.
c. Mr. Guy Lauzon, M.P.
Columbia Finishing Mills
Again if that was the document in question why not give it to the media that was present in the council chamber? Why would the mayor personally deliver the document instead of the clerk who normally delivers hand outs at council?
The core issue is transparency. We have no way of knowing what was in that document. None. The mayor made a point of saying that he could not add to the agenda and it was pointed out that he delivered the document in the council chamber prior to the commencement of the meeting; but is this simply a tactic to avoid in camera meeting procedures?
If the clerk had no access to the document and therefore could not deliver it herself was the mayor circumventing the rules of order and if so why?
Again, when you try to play footsies with reality and the rules of conduct a lot of red flags and questions arise.
We will most likely never know what was on that paper. If it’s not in camera then it should be available to the public via we the media. By hiding it from the public it again discredits council as a whole and the Mayor in particular.
Maybe it’s time for Mayor Kilger to realize that he is in fact not the Emperor of Cornwall Ontario; but simply the man currently chosen to represent the interests of the Corporation of the City of Cornwall; IE all of we taxpayers…
And maybe it’s time for council and certain staff to start calling our government on procedural issues like this?
As for the Mayor’s letter – well, when you’re politically slower than Rick Shaver that says a lot…. It smacks of cheap politicking and trying to illicit some support from the public instead of showing leadership.
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