Mayor Brown’s special council meeting scrapped as protesting councillors are no-shows again

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Published February 11, 2022 at 10:37 am

It’s a tale of two meetings as a Brampton City Council session was cancelled again for the second time in a week.

On Wednesday, six city councillors boycotted a regularly scheduled meeting of council in protest of what they called the city’s “authoritarian dictatorship.”

Their absence forced the meeting to be cancelled, with the councillors releasing a joint statement saying democracy in the city is being “stripped away.”

After the fallout of Wednesday’s cancellation, two special meetings were scheduled for Friday – one by Mayor Patrick Brown for 9:30 and another called by the bloc of six councillors for 10:00 a.m.

Brown’s meeting could not proceed as the six councillors again did not show up. The meeting agenda listed an in-camera session and a bylaw to confirm the proceedings of Council.

The second Friday meeting went ahead as scheduled with the bloc of six in attendance. That meeting agenda included a motion proposing amendments addressing “what constitutes a reopening decision.”

Wednesday’s boycott followed Tuesday night’s special meeting where members of council debated procedures and protocols related to a disagreement during the in-camera portion of the Jan. 26 meeting.

Councillors Martin Medeiros, Jeff Bowman, Charmaine Williams, Pat Fortini, Doug Whillans and Gurpreet Dhillon were all missing from Wednesday’s scheduled regular meeting of council, which forced the meeting to be cancelled.

The protesting members said council has tried to address “ongoing problems” at two recent council meetings, but say those efforts were squashed “after basic democratic procedures, on behalf of the voters, were blocked.”

A source with knowledge of the meetings told insauga.com that some members of council and city staff are at odds about the dismissal of a member of city staff, and when procedural requirements call for two-thirds majority rather than a simple majority.

The bloc’s motion on Friday called for changes to bylaws, saying “what constitutes a reopening decision is not defined and may be misused by a Chair and a minority of Council.”

The motion also looks to permit council to designate who can be present at a closed-session meeting when the matters relate to the Chief Administrative Officer.

The city’s current Chief Administrative Officer is David Barrick.

The motion seeks to do away with “a circumstance whereby a chair or a minority of council” could circumvent the will of the majority of council.

Shortly before 10:30 on Friday, the special meeting moved to a private in-camera session and returned after the closed session on Friday just before 12:30 p.m.

Another special meeting of council has been scheduled for Feb. 22.

A vote earlier in the week to request a review from the Ontario Ombudsman’s office passed unanimously, and the protesting councillors said they are “preparing a number of legislative actions aimed at restoring justice and democracy in the great city of Brampton.”

 

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