Friday, January 14, 2011


Does anyone recognize the following passage?
“There is a distinction between a citizen’s right to participate, and his or her right to observe municipal government in progress”.

For those of you who said this was verbatim in the Mayor’s inaugural speech, you would be correct. Here is the link to his speech:

But for those of you who said this was from the Ontario Ombudsman’s Sunshine Law Handbook, verbatim, well you would be correct as well. Here is the link to the handbook:

So either, the Ombudsman quoted Mayor Bill Hill OR Mayor Bill Hill quoted the Ombudsman without giving proper credit to the author.  Bet I know who said it first.

Wish our Mayor had read and quoted the Openess of Information on the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s (IPC) website that states:
“Openness – making sure that policies and practices about how information is managed within government are available to individuals – is a key element of every recognized standard information and privacy code worldwide.”
Read the full excerpt here:

And here is a best practice listed on the IPC’s website for the City of Mississauga:
“Under this program, Mississauga residents are provided with government records easily, informally, and in accordance with one of the overarching principles of the Act — that information should be available to the public and that necessary exemptions from the right of access (FOI) should be limited and specific.”

Read the full report here:

Notice what Mississauga doesn’t do?

They don’t NOT (double negative intended) post information, agendas, agreements or minutes from a July 13, 2010 meeting of Council for five months and then when a resident asks 17 questions to get the information about the “open” part of the meeting, indicate that the next time a resident asks 17 questions they will have to go through Freedom of Information (FOI) and pay the cost, which in this instance was  $1,100.00.

And to be fair, the decision to make residents go through a Freedom of Information request to get information that should be publically available was NOT a decision of Council, even though they act as a body corporate, but rather an individual decision of the Mayor.

And again, to be fair, the FOI legislation does provide that municipalities can insist residents go through FOI requests to get information.  But making the process of getting public information an onerous and expensive process for ratepayers would seem to contradict another quote in the Mayor's inaugural speech which was "we will adhere to them and be very open and transparent"  and this one, "our goal will to be as open and transparent as we can be" and finally "we have nothing to hide".

I guess Melancthon is only transparent if you can afford it and if the Mayor isn't pissed at you.


  1. It is odd that the Mayor would use someone else's quote because usually if it isn't HIS idea, it just doesn't fly.

  2. The Mayor, and certainly the past council, just love to waste time pissing around with the Procedural Bylaw attempting to limit the participation of residents in an effort to ‘save face’ and avoid dealing with issues that council doesn't have the answers to in the first place. It is time for council to grow up and stop wasting time; start dealing with the rate payer's concerns and the real issues facing this township. The residents are giving excellent advice; let's see if this "new" council is smart enough to take it.

  3. Didn't Bill threaten the CDRC that he would quit unless he accepted advice he gave them last fall? Something like if you don't do what I say I will resign, but you do what you want? Great leadership.