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Democracy Interrupted

It is generally an eye opener to sit in the spectator gallery of our council chamber.

Monday, August 10/09 was no exception! In fact, it was disturbing to witness a taxpaying citizen of councillor Stack’s Ward, whom he so graciously introduced as a requested last minute speaker, treated in so disrespectfully.

It was too bad that councillor Stack was not privileged beforehand as to the nature of what Mr. Petrowski wanted to present to council. Nevertheless that does not give licence for the mayor to utter derogatory and demeaning remarks or to threaten any presenter with ‘expulsion’ before the presenter even takes to the podium or utters the first word of their presentation!

Mr. Petrowski spoke for only a couple of minutes on a topic that concerns many citizens of St. Catharine's. During this brief presentation the Mayor admonished Mr. Petrowski not to ask questions. Followed by a subsequent presenter, Gail Benjafield, who was allowed to ask questions!
And, just what was the issue that Mr. Petrowski wanted to raise with council? Why it was none other than the highly promoted ‘Shop Local, Buy Local, and Hire Local’ campaign that this regime and this council allege is of such critical consequence!

To be fair, the fact that the Mayor’s charity golf tournament was held outside of our city, at a 30% higher cost and with no solicitation of our local or private struggling golf courses, seems to be a matter of misguided and misleading debate.
The tragedy of this drama is that the charity, which was earmarked for the funds, has apparently suffered the loss of an additional {approx} $5000.00!

The icing on the cake came when the Mayor, no doubt feeling the heat, felt the necessity to apologize to the council for Mr. Petrowski wasting everyone’s time!
Whatever the personal problems between the Mayor and Mr. Petrowski, they have no bearing on issues pertinent to the taxpaying citizens of St. Catharine's.

Mr. Petrowski and others like him are committed to issues concerning our taxpaying citizenry and are entitled to their opinions and have the right to address their concerns to council and are entitled to do so without fear of embarrassment.
Mr. Petrowski’s persistence does not give reason for him to suffer abuse from the mayor when he is addressing council! This abusive conduct is less than welcoming and will no doubt have a dampening effect on subsequent presenters.

This shameless conduct goes straight to the heart of our democratic process! This democracy-bashing issue is of greater consequence than most things and perhaps everything addressed in the council chamber, yet, it slides past most of the media as trivial and irrelevant! 

Mr. Petrowski, as with valiant members of the NWC, is willing to champion the cause of St. Catharine's’ taxpayers WITHOUT remuneration, self-interest, or personal individual gain.

If our city councillors, who have promised a code of conduct for  years, do not condone double-standards, favouritism, and verbal-abuse toward concerned citizens, should we not conclude that Mr. Petrowski and the rest of us mere concerned TAXPAYING citizens are owed a public apology?

Note: No one at city hall seems to mind!