Loneliness of an angry voter

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

This is a plea to all politicians, municipal, provincial, and federal: you must be held to a higher degree of accountability for your actions.

Hamilton politicians are under an even greater amount of pressure to be as squeaky clean as their neighbourhood minister as they try to overcome the city's unsavory past political practices. So it comes not so much as a shock, but rather sadness, that Glanbrook councillor Dave Mitchell finds himself conjuring up the bad old days of Hamilton politics. His attempt at trying to use his position to get a reduction on his $142 speeding ticket not only impacts his integrity, but also diminishes the credibility of council and the faith Hamiltonians have placed at their disposal. By his actions, Mitchell sullied the integrity of politicians, city staff, police officers and a program that arguably has been one of Hamilton's bright spots in the city's downtown revitalization campaign.

Mitchell did apologize for his statements, and it appears he is sincere in taking responsibility for the serious problems he has caused. Hamilton councillors also attempted to recoup some of their credibility by censuring Mitchell for his statements.

Even though council did not demand his resignation (as the Hamilton Police Association has called for), the public humiliation Mitchell has endured should be enough punishment for a person who has suffered through various personal issues.

But Mitchell's troubling behaviour has only heightened the tenuous connection politicians have with the public. Over the last few years, Hamiltonians have had enough political surprises to question whether or not faith in their representatives should be justified anymore. Whether it's former city labour director Robert Menagh's unseemly actions against a colleague, politicians receiving preferential tickets for hockey games, other sporting events, or entertainment shows, or the shadow cast by Mayor Larry Di Ianni's campaign contributions that kicked off this term, residents' patience has been rubbed raw.

The public's respect for politicians and the integrity they are expected to maintain is further complicated by the sex and nepotism scandal that is rocking the City of Toronto to its very foundations. And of course, the revelations from the Gomery Commission provided Canadians with enough facts about how their government operated to make even a jaded cynic blush with rage at the malfeasance of their elected representatives. Survey after survey has shown that the Canadian public is shunning politics because of its unsavory nature and continually ranks politicians at the bottom of the barrel in respect and credibility.

Can you blame Canadians for excluding politicians from their daily lives? Time after time they tell us, no, they beg us, that this time it will be different. Their administration, their government, will be open and transparent. Yet what soon happens is a little lie is revealed, a small malfeasance is uncovered, and the public again closes its eyes and shuts its ears to their excuses. The public is not at fault for the continuing misdeeds of their elected representatives.

Changing electoral ridings and transforming how governments are elected are nothing more than make-work programs for politicians, university professors and bureaucrats. If you want citizens to get involved in politics, then demand politicians hold onto the public trust they so dearly want to abuse.

And it must start at the municipal level. Hamilton does have a code of conduct for its councillors. Enforce it.

It is also time for politicians themselves to hold themselves accountable for their actions and the actions of their colleagues. It is time for politicians to act like they want to help the people they say they want to serve, and not for their own self-interest reasons. Politicians, you're on the clock.

Loneliness of an angry voter

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

This is a plea to all politicians, municipal, provincial, and federal: you must be held to a higher degree of accountability for your actions.

Hamilton politicians are under an even greater amount of pressure to be as squeaky clean as their neighbourhood minister as they try to overcome the city's unsavory past political practices. So it comes not so much as a shock, but rather sadness, that Glanbrook councillor Dave Mitchell finds himself conjuring up the bad old days of Hamilton politics. His attempt at trying to use his position to get a reduction on his $142 speeding ticket not only impacts his integrity, but also diminishes the credibility of council and the faith Hamiltonians have placed at their disposal. By his actions, Mitchell sullied the integrity of politicians, city staff, police officers and a program that arguably has been one of Hamilton's bright spots in the city's downtown revitalization campaign.

Mitchell did apologize for his statements, and it appears he is sincere in taking responsibility for the serious problems he has caused. Hamilton councillors also attempted to recoup some of their credibility by censuring Mitchell for his statements.

Even though council did not demand his resignation (as the Hamilton Police Association has called for), the public humiliation Mitchell has endured should be enough punishment for a person who has suffered through various personal issues.

But Mitchell's troubling behaviour has only heightened the tenuous connection politicians have with the public. Over the last few years, Hamiltonians have had enough political surprises to question whether or not faith in their representatives should be justified anymore. Whether it's former city labour director Robert Menagh's unseemly actions against a colleague, politicians receiving preferential tickets for hockey games, other sporting events, or entertainment shows, or the shadow cast by Mayor Larry Di Ianni's campaign contributions that kicked off this term, residents' patience has been rubbed raw.

The public's respect for politicians and the integrity they are expected to maintain is further complicated by the sex and nepotism scandal that is rocking the City of Toronto to its very foundations. And of course, the revelations from the Gomery Commission provided Canadians with enough facts about how their government operated to make even a jaded cynic blush with rage at the malfeasance of their elected representatives. Survey after survey has shown that the Canadian public is shunning politics because of its unsavory nature and continually ranks politicians at the bottom of the barrel in respect and credibility.

Can you blame Canadians for excluding politicians from their daily lives? Time after time they tell us, no, they beg us, that this time it will be different. Their administration, their government, will be open and transparent. Yet what soon happens is a little lie is revealed, a small malfeasance is uncovered, and the public again closes its eyes and shuts its ears to their excuses. The public is not at fault for the continuing misdeeds of their elected representatives.

Changing electoral ridings and transforming how governments are elected are nothing more than make-work programs for politicians, university professors and bureaucrats. If you want citizens to get involved in politics, then demand politicians hold onto the public trust they so dearly want to abuse.

And it must start at the municipal level. Hamilton does have a code of conduct for its councillors. Enforce it.

It is also time for politicians themselves to hold themselves accountable for their actions and the actions of their colleagues. It is time for politicians to act like they want to help the people they say they want to serve, and not for their own self-interest reasons. Politicians, you're on the clock.

Loneliness of an angry voter

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

This is a plea to all politicians, municipal, provincial, and federal: you must be held to a higher degree of accountability for your actions.

Hamilton politicians are under an even greater amount of pressure to be as squeaky clean as their neighbourhood minister as they try to overcome the city's unsavory past political practices. So it comes not so much as a shock, but rather sadness, that Glanbrook councillor Dave Mitchell finds himself conjuring up the bad old days of Hamilton politics. His attempt at trying to use his position to get a reduction on his $142 speeding ticket not only impacts his integrity, but also diminishes the credibility of council and the faith Hamiltonians have placed at their disposal. By his actions, Mitchell sullied the integrity of politicians, city staff, police officers and a program that arguably has been one of Hamilton's bright spots in the city's downtown revitalization campaign.

Mitchell did apologize for his statements, and it appears he is sincere in taking responsibility for the serious problems he has caused. Hamilton councillors also attempted to recoup some of their credibility by censuring Mitchell for his statements.

Even though council did not demand his resignation (as the Hamilton Police Association has called for), the public humiliation Mitchell has endured should be enough punishment for a person who has suffered through various personal issues.

But Mitchell's troubling behaviour has only heightened the tenuous connection politicians have with the public. Over the last few years, Hamiltonians have had enough political surprises to question whether or not faith in their representatives should be justified anymore. Whether it's former city labour director Robert Menagh's unseemly actions against a colleague, politicians receiving preferential tickets for hockey games, other sporting events, or entertainment shows, or the shadow cast by Mayor Larry Di Ianni's campaign contributions that kicked off this term, residents' patience has been rubbed raw.

The public's respect for politicians and the integrity they are expected to maintain is further complicated by the sex and nepotism scandal that is rocking the City of Toronto to its very foundations. And of course, the revelations from the Gomery Commission provided Canadians with enough facts about how their government operated to make even a jaded cynic blush with rage at the malfeasance of their elected representatives. Survey after survey has shown that the Canadian public is shunning politics because of its unsavory nature and continually ranks politicians at the bottom of the barrel in respect and credibility.

Can you blame Canadians for excluding politicians from their daily lives? Time after time they tell us, no, they beg us, that this time it will be different. Their administration, their government, will be open and transparent. Yet what soon happens is a little lie is revealed, a small malfeasance is uncovered, and the public again closes its eyes and shuts its ears to their excuses. The public is not at fault for the continuing misdeeds of their elected representatives.

Changing electoral ridings and transforming how governments are elected are nothing more than make-work programs for politicians, university professors and bureaucrats. If you want citizens to get involved in politics, then demand politicians hold onto the public trust they so dearly want to abuse.

And it must start at the municipal level. Hamilton does have a code of conduct for its councillors. Enforce it.

It is also time for politicians themselves to hold themselves accountable for their actions and the actions of their colleagues. It is time for politicians to act like they want to help the people they say they want to serve, and not for their own self-interest reasons. Politicians, you're on the clock.