Motions About Nothing

I had a resident ask me about the flurry of motions suddenly put forward mere months before our municipal election, as add-ons to our Council agendas. She noted that they were nothing of substance. Motions that amounted to nothing more than asking that Aurora believes the sky is blue. So why are they on the agenda now?

My answer? Well, it is election season. I agree with the resident though. In my opinion, these “I like apple pie” motions aren’t about conducting the business of the Town. What they are about is wasting Staff time, Town resources and ultimately tax-payer dollars.

At this point in the term, with 4 months to go, Council should be focusing on the important initiatives we already have under way – Library Square, The Hallmark Lands, The Armoury, Stable Neighbourhood Study, Heritage designations on Yonge St. Motions that ask for Staff reports on Staff reports that already exist or ask Council to support Provincial initiatives are a waste of everyone’s time

But I guess it’s needed for a campaign brochure.

I fully understand that some feel the need to hurry and get motions in and before Council to be able to say that they have done something for the environment or taxes or what have you over the course of the past 4 years. But Council meetings are about Town business not campaigning. It’s disappointing that Council and staff time would be wasted in this way when we still have so much work to get done before the end of the term.

There is an easy solution however. The municipal campaign started May 1st, thus I believe there should be a moratorium on new motions by Councillors. We’ve had almost 4 years to put forward our initiatives and seek support from our colleagues.

If there are urgent or substantive matters, or pressing Town issues they can be handled by direct inquiries to/with Staff or raised under New Business during Council meetings for staff to address as required. A notice of motion is not required – unless staff state as much and then it can be handled right at the meeting.

New initiatives put forward at the last minute by council members who may not even be here by the time a staff report is brought back, is a waste of everyone’s time. It’s politicking, not doing the Town’s business.

And it isn’t permitted in other levels of government.

When the province or feds drop the writ for the provincial or federal election the government isn’t allowed to continue putting forward new legislation. Governments and Candidates campaign on their record. I believe the same should hold true at the Municipal level. .

I understand some municipalities already do this; they don’t allow further motions by sitting councillors once the campaign has started. And others actually stop meetings as of July for that very reason.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think Council needs to continue to operate and continue too conduct the business of the Town – we have work to do! But bringing forward motions that ask that the Council pursue the Bee City Canada designation for The Town of Aurora or support the Greenbelt?? Of course everyone supports the Greenbelt.. and supports saving bees!! Do we need to have a motion now about this? Of course not! Or putting forward a motion for a sports field strategy, when the Town already has one within its Master Plan… All this amounts to is politics, an attempt to check off a box that says, “I did something for the environment or sports or taxes etc.”

Our town deserves better and our residents deserve better than that.

We as Council need to focus on substance. With so much to do before this term is over let’s get on with the business of the Town.

What do you think? Do you think municipalities should follow the same practice as other levels of government and put a hold on Councillor members putting forward new motions or new initiatives during campaign season?

Would love to hear your thoughts…

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2 Responses

  1. Tom, we need you here in Uxbridge! What a voice of common sense! I absolutely agree! It’s about time ALL councilors worked as hard as you do, sharing information and including the public in decisions that effect them!

  2. I agree there should be a moratorium on introduction of new motions by Councillors who have declared their intention to run in the next election. The trick would be….AS AT WHAT DATE? Opening of nominations – or CLOSING of them?

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