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Expecting more transparency from council

Airdrie letters_text

Dear Editor,

The much bigger and far more important issues behind the sanctions have hardly been discussed. This whole disreputable incident began when four council members – although only three remain under sanctions – allowed a confidential Rocky View County (RVC) document to be sent to the public, even though sending it to their own lawyer can hardly be considered to be "the public." 

The document was an opinion on whether proper process had been followed in the hiring of the CAO. The basic question should be, why is that opinion confidential in the first place? Doesn't the public have the right to know if due process was followed? By comparison, whether the sanctioned councillors were right or wrong is almost irrelevant. 

All councils will deal with a variety of matters that must remain confidential. For the most part, such issues deal with the potential annexation of land, as every effort must be taken to ensure nobody can financially gain by virtue of insider information. Personal information on County employees, council members and all RVC residents must also be kept confidential. As well, there will always be other matters that must be kept in confidence.

That hardly pertains to an opinion on proper council process. By extension, council could conceivably get an opinion on other possible unfair practices or even possible illegal activity. All council has to do is declare it confidential – the ultimate in denying any form of transparency or responsibility to the electors. 
I contend the total opposite – if one or more council members believe council is acting inappropriately, council member(s) has a duty to inform the public. Whether that council member(s) is right or wrong is for the public, maybe even for the courts, to decide. 

It got worse from there. The council majority decided to increase sanctions as the council minority's letter to the Rocky View Weekly was not fully respectful of the majority – it was unfair. By extension, that means any written or oral criticism of our federal government by any member of the Conservative Party opposition would first have to be approved by Trudeau. 

Canadians would never stand for such governmental tyranny. Neither should RVC residents. 

Jerry Arshinoff
Former RVC councillor, Division 2 

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