Does Democracy Begin at Home? or My Battle to be Heard at City Council Part 9 by Jamie Gilcig

Does Democracy Begin at Home? or My Battle to be Heard at City Council Part 9  by Jamie Gilcig

churchill democracyCFN – Democracy is a term that gets bandied around frequently. It’s big in the news right now.  Turkey, Egypty, the US.

It’s talked about in Canada too.

After all, what really is a Democracy?  What does it mean to you?  What is so special about Democracy that so many have died fighting for it.

During WWII it was pretty much clear.   You had Nazi style Fascism on one side and Jo Stalin’s brand of Communism on the other.

Most of the world said blech to both of those and the forces of Democracy fought and succeeded.

Democracy has spread all over the world since; but it seems to be embraced least in the countries that did their best to spread it.

  • Argentina , Australia, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Luxembourg, Nauru, Peru, Singapore,  and Uruguay all have compulsory voting.  IE all adults must vote.

Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens participate equally—either directly or through elected representatives—in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. It encompasses social, economic and cultural conditions that enable the free and equal practice of political self-determination.

Of course there are people that will say that how can people vote properly or clearly if they don’t know the issues.  Having worked in media now for nearly five years I’m stunned at what little I’ve seen.   How many stories have been whitewashed by media for government or corporate interests?

Independent media if successful is either bought out by one of the chains or stomped to death.

I get chastised by some armchair anarchists as I call them for not covering larger more National and International stories because I do feel that Democracy begins at home.   How many Federal or Provincial leaders here in Canada started at City Council like the late Jack Layton for example?

In today’s world it all comes down to accountability and transparency.   They simply don’t really exist any longer.   It’s scary.    Look at the punitive damage inflicted on Whistleblowers from the largest platform like the recent Edward Snowden NSA case to our own Deputy Fire Chief Whistleblowing at City Hall.   Two completely different circumstances but equally punitive and at the end of the day anything that brings the truth to light cannot be a bad thing.

Are we humans made of sugar that the truth would melt us down?    How can we vote or even have an opinion on anything if we don’t know the truth?

When I started CFN I had no desire to be a media martyr.   I had no agenda other than trying to help my community and build an alternative.   The fact that a near one man independent could draw more than four times the traffic as a National shows that there was a need; but at what price?

Our own battle is ongoing.   We have demanded to speak before our city council after they slurred our company with patently false statements knowingly put into a city policy that essentially was a punitive and petty action taken on in many people’s opinions on behalf of some of the corporate larger media.    LINK

The city refused in spite of 134 signatures

Here is our city’s bylaw.

13.3.2        Presentations – time limit
Council shall hear any presentation for information purposes only, and presentations shall be limited to a maximum of ten (10) minutes.

Here is the language where the city can refuse;

13.8        Delegation – deemed – inappropriate for Council
When it is deemed inappropriate that a delegation address Council, the Clerk shall so notify the delegation and Council with a supporting explanation.  Such written explanation shall be delivered with the Agenda and the Council, if it so wishes to hear the delegation, shall, by two-thirds vote of the Council Members in attendance, introduce a motion to suspend the rules to allow the delegation to be heard.

The funny thing is that no clear note has been given as to why the request was rejected again.

Here is City Clerk, Helen Finn’s rejection letter unedited;

Hi Jamie, 

As discussed with Norm and explained last time, your presentation does not fit the criteria from an administrative perspective. However, you have 2 options: 

You can gather signatures for a petition, submit the petition to me to present to Council, and Council will decide; 

The other option is to ask Council to suspend the rules within the procedural by-law and allow you to be heard.  This requires the support of 2/3 of Council. 

In your request, below, you state that there is nothing inappropriate about your rebuttal.  The issue is that a rebuttal does not qualify as a reason to present. I have copied and pasted your request and my previous response, with the sections of the procedural by-law below: 

(There is nothing inappropriate about CFN wishing to rebut the slur in your report. We are not asking for any remedy or apology. We simply want to rebut the information in the same forum that it was released by council. 

There are over 60 signatures on our online petition now as well. 

http://cornwallfreenews.com/2013/06/will-you-sign-our-petition-to-have-cfn-rebut-city-slur-against-us-at-council-petition/ 

Jamie) 

MY previous response: 

You requested the opportunity to appear before Council to rebut a sentence in a report. 

The City’s procedural by-law determines what is eligible for a presentation (ceremonial) or a delegation.  Unfortunately, a rebuttal does not fall within those categories. 

Thus, I regret to inform you that your request to make a presentation before Council is denied. 

13.3        Presentation defined 
A request made for a presentation may be made by the Council to an individual, group or organization or to the Council by individuals, groups or organizations for matters that fall under the Council’s mandate.  Should the request for presentation be made where it requires that action be taken by the Council, the request shall be made under Delegations.

13.3.1        Presentations – ceremonial or financial statements 
Presentations of a ceremonial nature or the annual presentation of Consolidated Financial Statements by the municipal Auditor shall be heard at the beginning of a Council meeting, immediately following the adoption of minutes.

13.3.2        Presentations – time limit 
Council shall hear any presentation for information purposes only, and presentations shall be limited to a maximum of ten (10) minutes. 

(a)        Exceptions of the ten (10) minute time frame are provided to the City’s Auditor upon its annual presentation of The Corporation’s Financial Statement. 

(b)        Spokesperson – presentation and/or delegation 
        An organized body wishing to address Council as a presentation and/or delegation, regardless of the number of spokespersons shall be limited to a maximum of ten (10) minutes.        

13.3.3        Restrictions and permission 
Presentations and/or Delegations shall not be permitted to appear before council for the sole purpose of generating publicity for an event, or to promote their business.

13.8        Delegation – deemed – inappropriate for Council 
When it is deemed inappropriate that a delegation address Council, the Clerk shall so notify the delegation and Council with a supporting explanation.  Such written explanation shall be delivered with the Agenda and the Council, if it so wishes to hear the delegation, shall, by two-thirds vote of the Council Members in attendance, introduce a motion to suspend the rules to allow the delegation to be heard. 

Regards, 

Helen Finn, LLB in Quebec, 
City Clerk / Greffière
Clerk’s Department / Département du Greffe
The Corporation of the City of Cornwall
360, rue Pitt Street, Cornwall, ON, K6J 3P9
(613) 930-2787 ext 2537 Phone
(613) 932-8145 Fax
 

hfinn@cornwall.ca

I know in the big world picture this is but a tiny speck of an example. but Democracy starts at home and this is, my home.

We all need to practice our Democracy more because when we don’t our rights get trampled.  Lives are lost and sometimes we don’t even realize what’s actually happened until it’s far too late.

Holding a politician or corporate thug responsible, even in the manner they occasionally do in China simply cannot fix that damage caused.

What does Democracy mean to you dear viewer of CFN?  You can post your comments below.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

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