Recently I received yet another message from Mayor Gibson concerning my original demand to explain what happened to his promise to minute down the questions. Albeit with a delay, someone in the Town Hall realized that my reference to article 322 of the Cities and Towns act was not exactly correct:
For your information please find attached the complete version of article 322 (The sittings of the Council shall be public) of the Cities and Towns Act. It seems that you have omitted to say that the procedure that you have described on your web-site is for a municipality whose council is made up of more than 20 councillors. I believe your readers would be interested in knowing all the facts about article 322.
Good catch! Yes, you are right, in the case of a municipality whose council is made up of more than 20 councillors, the council may order by by-law that the period of oral questions by the persons attending be replaced by the procedure described in the article. By the same token, the council made up of less than 20 councillors may decide to table all questions and answers, if that is the wish of their citizens.
Mr. Mayor, if you look at any municipality on the island, including the smallest ones, they all have their Question Periods documented and published on the web page although most of them have less councillors than Kirkland. And if you take the biggest one – Montreal – they go as far as recording their entire sessions on video and making the recording available on their web page.
Perhaps you believe that this excessive democracy has led to the recent unpleasant reshuffles in Montreal City Hall, and that is exactly what you want to spare you citizens from? Please don’t.
Come and ask your question at the next Council Meeting on May 5!