Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Quest for Coherent Logic

Sometimes, I come out of a council meeting wondering if I've mysteriously lost my ability to speak English - perhaps there's some kind of encoding that happens between my utterance and when it makes its way across council chambers. Perhaps that open space in the centre is a Bermuda Triangle for ideas. I certainly felt that way at last Monday's council meeting, after my motion to have a report prepared, as well as a draft bylaw, on the feasibility of a cat licensing system in the city was defeated.

I don't expect that everyone on council agrees with the need for such a bylaw, but I did think that the logical next step would be to have a report outlining the options, to provide the necessary information that council would need before moving forward with a bylaw. However, the reasons given by some council members defied logic - the statement was made that we don't want to commit ourselves to a bylaw. Perhaps a review of the difference between having a report prepared (provision of information), versus voting on a bylaw (making the final decision) is required for some councillors. Until a bylaw is actually given three readings, it has not been passed, and council has not committed itself to anything.

Another councillor said that he felt that the current bylaw needs to be reviewed and updated, but he felt that we should have a report first. This is when I started worrying about whether I had lost the power of understandable speech - that was the first part of my recommendation, and if that was the only part of the recommendation that could be supported, then the councillor could have asked for an amendment that he could support.

So my recommendation was defeated, although not totally without support. If there were logical reasons for not supporting this (if, for example, one felt that the current situation was fine, that there is no need to find additional ways of funding the SPCA, that sort of reason), I could understand that. But with the reasons that were given, one might wonder if the actual motive was to not support a suggestion of a particular member of council, possibly for personal reasons.

Now, one wouldn't want to believe that - not from a council less than a month old, which had members at the first meeting talk about the need for greater cooperation and working together. Surely those weren't just words said for show, without any intention of following those words up with actions that would demonstrate commitment to those ideas. A member of council has to put aside personal feelings in doing what is best for the city, otherwise we wouldn't be doing our jobs and upholding our oath of office. We owe each other the respect of listening to everyone's ideas, and figuring out how we can make change work, otherwise we're not respecting the people who elected us to do those very things.

Since we won't have licensing fees to help the SPCA anytime soon, remember to go to, and vote for the Prince Albert SPCA. We've gone from eighty-something place in Canada when I first posted about this opportunity, reached as high as twenty-third place, but have now slipped to twenty-fifth. You can vote once a day until December 20th.

No council or executive meeting this week - I'm not sure why. We have many things to talk about, from the finally released second bridge report, to the new committee recommendations, to the ever-changing numbers for soccer centre operational costs. But we won't be starting any of those discussions until December 7, our next Executive Meeting. Unless, of course, it's decided that we need a special meeting before then.

"What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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