Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gary Korpan - Shocked & Appalled By Council Performance

Shocked and appalled. That is the near universal response I have heard about Nanaimo City Council's debate Monday night regarding a one-year extension to the proponents of the long-awaited Conference Center hotel.

As one of the few people who have observed and participated in City Council debates since the late 1970s, I can confirm that Monday's was, if not the worst, then one of the worst debates by that formerly august body.

While we have had personal animosities between Council members, from time to time, the open viciousness and seething hatred between and among so many in one public session is a record. A new low, despicable record. Such pettiness denigrates the participants, detracts from fulfilling City business, besmirches Council's reputation, insults the voters, and diminishes the credibility of those central to the abuses. If Councillors Bestwick, Fuller, and Kipp have any credibility or supporters following their outrageous, slanderous behaviour toward the Mayor, fellow Councillors, and various citizen delegations it will surprise most observers.

Councillor Bestwick's total sell-out of the benefits to Nanaimo in the hotel contract was beyond appalling.  He actually represented the proponents better than their own lawyer.

If those three Councillors had any sense of decency, they would apologize to their colleagues, city staff, and the citizens of Nanaimo. Then resign.

Mister Mayor, among your responsibilities, you were elected to chair Council meetings fairly and effectively. That includes using firmness, if necessary, to bring abusive Councillors under control. You should have demanded retractions and apologies immediately. You need to remind the abusers that the debate is on the motion at hand. And not allow them to meander off topic, wasting council's time. Mayors, all chairpersons, must ensure all members are treated with respect and the business of the organization is fulfilled. Monday night's Council meeting failed to meet those responsibilities.

On a more positive note, I extend my public appreciation to Mayor Bill McKay, City Councillors Ian Thorpe, Wendy Pratt, Diane Brennan, Bill Yoachim, and Jerry Hong for trying, in very trying circumstances, to do the job the voters elected them to do. May the Supreme Being help us all.

Gary Korpan


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