They’re trying out a new rule at Hamilton City Hall. It’s still a work in progress, but apparently the way it works is that the mayor, and presumably other councillors, are not allowed to speak out on issues of public concern in an election year. Because you see, to do so would be “electioneering,” and God knows we don’t want any of that—certainly not from politicians, certainly not in an election year. The rule was recently invoked when Mayor Bob Bratina waded into the debate over the future of Parkview Secondary School. Board Chair Jessica Brennan branded the Mayor’s intervention as just an attempt to “drum up support during an election year.”

Really? Councillor Terry Whitehead called it “political opportunism.”“Where was (Bratina) when the future of Hill Park and Mountain schools were being debated,” demanded Whitehead, through a Spectator reporter. As a side note, the Ward 8 councillor attended 2 out of 21 meetings into the school closures affecting his ward, missing the final 18 meetings; which included the crucial meetings when the actual closures were being determined. Similarly, Ward 5 Councillor Chad Collins who got to two of the 14 meetings affecting the schools in his ward, missing the final 11; felt the mayor should have entered the battle to save North end schools much earlier. Collins recommends the mayor atone for his past disinterest by fighting elementary school closures that will soon be debated. This is a strange new world. Criticising an elected politician for being, er…, political, particularly as it comes from group of councillors whose every action, every word is a play to the gallery, who are in perpetual re-election mode; seems Orwellian in its twisting of logic and language. You’d almost think there’s an election coming.

John Best has had a lengthy media management career, in television and radio and now print. As Vice President, News at CHCH in Hamilton, John oversaw a significant expansion of the news operation. He founded Independent Satellite News, Canada’s only television news service providing national content to Canadian independent TV stations. John is a frequent political commentator on radio and television, a documentary producer and author of a book and numerous articles on historical and political subjects. John is a past recipient of the New York Festival’s award for writing in the International TV category.

One Comment to: Getting Politics out of City Hall?

  1. Paul

    February 20th, 2014

    Election year is to a politician what a full moon is to a werewolf. It’s gonna be nutty between now and the end of October!


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