Re-Building Public Trust
For thirty years I have been a journalist and have covered municipal politics; twenty of those years in Stratford covering council. I have a strong historical sense of issues impacting our community. I have seen, heard and witnessed behaviours and decision making. For me it is essential members of our community feel they are being authentically heard. We need to be responsive and progressive. When there is a divide between citizens and politicians the legitimacy of government is in question. Community members stop participating which eventually impacts the quality of life and the cohesiveness of our community. There is potential for public trust to be fractured and I feel that has happened to this community. The TPT, and Market Square, whether for or against, are examples of where members of our community felt shutout.
As your Councillor I will:
Move to decrease or hopefully eliminate Consultation Theatre. Whether real or perceived it weakens engagement and confidence in council.
If we consult, that's what should be happening vs information sessions with limited or curbed opportunities for feed back. Cultivate respect and equality.
On a rotational basis, councillors (2-3) should host public meetings. That could be monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. We shouldn’t hear from our councillors once every four years.
Protect the public's right to be heard.
When we ask for feedback, when we ask our community members to take the time to research, to come out to forums and to engage, we must respect that time and effort. Their perspectives should be weighted and help inform the decision making process. They should be heard at council meetings.
Further evidence based decision making.
Data and information should be easily accessible and quickly made available.
Support solutions being a shared responsibility.
Including the public early in the process of decision making, where it makes sense to do so. Both government and the public should have input.
Evaluate how effectively the public is being engaged.
Ensure the highest level of engagement possible and adjust to make sure public engagement is working.
Undertake to ensure City Hall ( and the public) is/are committed to implementation.
Discussion and policy making are the first steps. Delivery is key.