Tantramar council won’t be adding public question periods anytime soon

Tantramar Clerk Donna Beal

Tantramar Town Council won’t decide whether to hold public question periods at its regular monthly meetings for at least another six months and possibly longer.

Town Clerk Donna Beal says staff will not be bringing forward possible revisions to council’s procedural bylaw until well into next year.

Until then, town council will operate under its current, provincially imposed bylaw which allows one, 15-minute public question period at the end of its committee of the whole discussion meetings and none at regular meetings where council makes its decisions.

“We are looking at all of our bylaws for Sackville and the Village of Dorchester and they all have to be consolidated,” Beal told council at its discussion meeting on Tuesday.

She said the bylaws are brought forward according to their priority.

“We would hope to look at the procedure and organizational bylaw sometime in mid to middle of 2024,” she added.

Long tradition

For at least 30 years, the town council in Sackville allowed members of the public to ask questions at the beginning and at the end of its regular monthly meetings.

More recently, that council added public question periods at the end of its discussion meetings, but two of the three monthly question periods ended on January 1st when municipal amalgamation came into effect.

During Tantramar council’s first meeting in January, Councillors Michael Tower and Allison Butcher attempted to amend the agenda to allow a public question period, but failed to get the required unanimous consent.

“I think losing this question period takes away transparency,” Tower said after suggesting that during last fall’s election campaign, candidates had spoken in favour of openness.

Mount Allison Politics Professor Geoff Martin called the lack of public question periods a step backward.

Martin, who served on Sackville Town Council from 1998 to 2004, said the practice gives citizens a chance to question the people they elected.

“This is supposed to be a democratic government, not a soulless corporation,” he wrote in an e-mail.

To read that story, click here.

This entry was posted in Town of Tantramar and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Tantramar council won’t be adding public question periods anytime soon

  1. Here’s my suggestion to you for your faithful readers Bruce:
    Add a link icon on this website for the Youtube Channel for the Town of Tantramar so people may see the public record videos being archived.
    I have gone a step further and add their videos to Bitchute Indie Media Eastcoast video channel, without permission, with the comments section open. To keep the comments section closed of their Youtube Channel is not democratic either but they really don’t seem to care about the public opinions or commentary.. how to address that? Take their videos and put them into a place where the public are able to comment. That’s why I continue to be grateful for your website and its comment section discussion even though many of your readers share very different ideologies than I do I find it helpful to have some discussions that can bring forth common ground.

    • Wayne Feindel Puppet of the People connecting council to the commuity. says:

      Creation of by-laws and making amendments are not the pergotative of the staff but of council. Legally a directive has to be written to other participatory bodies such as the planning commission and other advisory entities. The New Brunswick government under Higgs and the Province of Ontario under Ford are entering a legal quagmire that the Town of Tantramar can ill afford.
      It is called the Henry V111 clauses which are similar to the techniques that dictators have used to sideline legislatures such as in Venezuela. [Province has backed off for now on that move to control by – laws created by the Municipality].
      Without responsible government, there is no democracy in Canada. Without council oversight there is no local governance. John Ralston Saul in his book The Unconscious Civilization quoted Benito Mussolini that,” fascism should be better called corporatism “. Or as a previous comment says, a “soulless corporation.” The Mayor above all other members of council needs to know the Federal and Provincial municipal laws. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse. You will be sued under natural law . Even when you outsource services supposedly to protect yourself from liability, you are still responsible not the corporation you hired.
      There is a certain degree of truth that the new council is inexperienced, but council will stay that way unless actively involved. Councillors now after having read this article, have the duty to thwart any further erosion of democracy.

Leave a Reply