THUNDER BAY – I would like to comment on the latest articles concerning lack of transparency by this council. To be clear, this and all other councils in Canada discuss all issues in public except when there are certain circumstances which could jeopardize the city from a legal perspective. The council will then go to in-camera meetings which are confidential for one of the following three reasons:
1) The council is dealing with personnel issues. i.e. if this information was said in public the person or persons would be able to sue us if we could not prove what we say is true or we are damaging their reputation somehow.
2) We are dealing with land issues. i.e. if the city was going to buy a piece of land and this was revealed in public someone else could buy that property or the price could increase knowing the city wanted it.
3) If we were being sued or could be sued, we would not want to comment publically on the subject in order to not expose the city to further lawsuits or jeopardize our legal position.
These are the only reasons for in-camera meetings. To suggest that in-camera meetings are a way to hide or discuss information that does not fall into one of the three categories is totally false and misleading.
Every city conducts in -camera meetings when dealing with the three areas mentioned above. We have gone in -camera to protect the city and the citizens of this city.
As far as accessibility is concerned, I know that I can speak for myself and the majority of councillors when I say we are 100% accessible to answer any questions on any subject we deal with.
We try to get the information out in many forms such as ward meetings, letters to the editor, Monday night meetings, My TBay newspaper, media releases etc.
All councillors publish their phone numbers, e-mail address, some are on Facebook, all are on the city web -site, www.thunderbay.ca. Most of us are in the community doing our business and are accessible if someone is trying to get a hold of us. To suggest otherwise is false and misleading.
I hope this clears the air.
Thank you for the opportunity to appear on Newsledger.
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