Fast & Curious: Short Takes on Random Things

Charter? What Charter?

I was perusing the list of recently completed Nova Scotia Freedom of Information Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) requests, as one does, and discovered this one:

All briefing notes, analysis and correspondence regarding the development of a municipal charter for Cape Breton Regional Municipality.

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I thought. This is gonna be huge. I’m actually going to get to see what the mayor is proposing in terms of a charter for the CBRM and how the province is responding to it.  I know we’re only in the early days, but CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke has been in discussions with some senior provincial officials. As the Cape Breton Post reported in January:

Clarke said a number of discussions have been held with Premier Stephen McNeil on the proposed charter and other relevant officials including government house leader Michel Samson.

The intention is to have the necessary legislation tabled in the spring legislative sitting.

“What was presented to the government was what we have already asked for and have already discussed,” Clarke said.

Imagine my disappointment, then, when I viewed the response to the FOIPOP request (which came from “a political party”) and found this:

Nada. Nothing. Zip.

Clarke spoke to the Post on January 11 and the FOIPOP timeframe was “to January 13,” so whatever “was presented to the government” should have turned up, shouldn’t it? Unless it was all done in sign language or by the premier’s preferred method, over his cell phone.


Monthly council meeting is movable feast

Tom Ayers of LocalXpress wrote an interesting account this week of the CBRM’s wildly out of whack municipal council meeting schedule. Council has not met at the regularly scheduled time since the October 2016 elections.

CBRM Council Chambers

Monthly meetings are supposed to be held on the third Tuesday of the month in the evening but they’ve been held on different days (the fourth Tuesday, the odd Wednesday) and at different times (10 a.m., 1 p.m.) . They have all been held in the council chambers at the Civic Centre but let’s not take anything for granted.

I agree with the critics who say holding regular meetings at regular times is a way of encouraging public participation. Of course, I am someone who has been battling just to get alerts as to when meetings are happening (unsuccessfully, to date, Ayers didn’t get notified that this week’s general meeting had been postponed, but I didn’t even get the email notice it was happening — this despite assurances from both Christina Lamey, the mayor’s spokesperson, and Deborah Campbell, the municipal clerk, that I had been added to the list).

Did I just make that all about me? I didn’t mean to. This is all about YOU citizens. Complain, and your voices might be heard.