Mayors speak for council, not individual councillors, whatever the local integrity commissioner says, writes reader
By Letter to the EditorNiagara Dailies
Fri., July 22, 2022
Revise council code Re: West Lincoln Councillor Harold Jonker breached code of conduct during freedom convoy: integrity commissioner, July 19
The notion a member of council gives up their duty to represent their electors once elected is onerous and undemocratic.
Many voters complain about politicians who change once elected, who say one thing when seeking office and then do something else once elected.
West Lincoln Coun. Harold Jonker explained himself well: “As a representative I chose to represent the residents who are being negatively affected by the lockdowns and mandates.” He did not intended and never claimed to represent council.
The town’s integrity commissioner John Mascarin has stated a principal in several rulings. If you’re a member of council, you’re a representative, at all times, of the council.
Maybe the code of conduct needs to be revisited if it truly says a councillor must stop representing voters and represent council once elected. They are councillors in addition to who they are in private life, they do not stop being who they are after election.
The mayor speaks for council, not individual councillors. A councillor represents the voters and should continue to do so once elected.
The code of conduct concept for local councils has been tested this term in many ways, perhaps it needs another look.
Time to Modernize Niagara"
• Ask candidates to include Elect Regional Chair by general Vote Like a Mayor in their platform.
• Ask candidates to include Modernize Niagara ideas in their platforms, #modernizeniagara and search ModernizeNiagara.ca for a web page full of ideas
• Regional Chair will own more of the property tax bill than any Mayor, Chair should be elected by voters, by taxpayers, like a Mayor. The transfer of Transit to the Region means the Region part of the property tax on your house or business will be larger than the city tax. "
“Thank-you for your support over the years. I accept and respect the wisdom of the voter. I was honoured to have served so many years, we achieved a lot progress for Niagara, most significantly the Commitment for GO Rail to St.Catharines and Niagara Falls by 2023.
We established the 3 City Transit collaboration that will lead to a strong public transit network for Niagara.
We saved the Port Robinson Ferry on the Greater Niagara Circle Route through a partnership with the City of Thorold.
We saved the Niagara Gateway Tourism Kiosk through a partnership between the Region , TPN and West Niagara Tourism Association
The most important issue for the new council is the restructuring of the Region, either by Council or by the Provincial Government. Council should offer a made in Niagara solution before we get a Queens Park solution.
We can all continue building a better Niagara, I will continue to do my best as a citizen and taxpayer Building a Better Niagara for all of us.
We have filtered out any multiple responses from the same source and recognize the survey is not “scientific”. The result of 75% for chair at large is similar to the Durham Region referendum result of 2010.
The new council has an opportunity to make that change early in this term. The Double duty change may take more time and survey shows mixed results on that issue.
Thanks again for participating, I wish the new council success in Building a Better Niagara.
1. Do you want an election of the Regional Chair (with any Niagara resident eligible to run) by all the voters of Niagara?
YES: 575 (75%)
NO: 147 (19%)
DON'T KNOW: 49 (6%)
2. Do you support a single City of Niagara, as opposed to the current 12 individual municipalities?
YES: 316 (41%)
NO: 406 (53%) DON'T KNOW: 49 (6%)
3. Do you support City Councillors replacing the Regional Councillors at Regional Council?
YES: 381 (49%)
NO: 297 (39%) DON'T KNOW: 93 (12%)
4. Do you support Double Duty Councillors (i.e., serving as both City and Regional Councillors), elected by Ward, at Regional Council?
YES: 342 (44%)
NO: 375 (49%) DON'T KNOW: 54 (7%)
Integrate region and local councils, eliminate the 18 Region only
councillors and put city councillors at the Regional table and elect the
Regional Chair at Large.
Six St.Catharines City councillors would do double duty and serve at the Region and the City. This model is used in Burlington and Oakville of Halton Region and Oshawa and Whitby of Durham Region.
The Regional Council becomes a team of city and town Councillors working together for the good of the entire Region. The Regional Chair is elected at large by the voters of the whole Region like the Halton model. This model works elsewhere in the Province , is proven to be successful and I believe it can be supported by all the 12 municipalities in time for the next Municipal election, 2014.
View my video explaining how it works
It is a Forty Year face lift for Regional government, after 40 years it is time to improve the governance model of Niagara, to focus on the team of 12 communities, integrate the councils of the local communities into a Regional Council that works together with good understanding of the local council’s challenges. Get rid of the structured separation into two tiers and focus on teamwork. It has worked well when the joint committees at the Region include local city councillors from Niagara Falls and Welland and Thorold and all the others sitting around the table working out common problems. “The Forty Year Facelift, or Forty Year Fix for Niagara is overdue and it will be my top priority in the new term. Less Two Tier more Team Niagara” said Timms.
Regional Councillor Bruce Timms has served on Regional Council since 1991, has served as Chair of Public Health Committee, Chair of the Greater Niagara Circle Route Steering Committee, and was founding board member of Niagara Regional Housing.