COUNTY OF WETASKIWIN OPPOSITION TO COUNCIL DECISIONS

  • May. 13, 2011 5:00 p.m.

Pipestone Flyer

A series of meetings were held at Angus Ridge, Mulhurst Bay, Lakedell, and Alder Flats to seek support for a petition to force Wetaskiwin County to hold a recreational needs assessment before committing a second two million dollars toward the building of the regional aquatic centre in Wetaskiwin.  Attendance at the meetings ranged from 12 to 22 with a total of about 70.  Rick Southern, from Westerose in Division 5, addressed the meetings, elaborating upon the content of his power point presentation, part of which was based upon the March 25, 2010 “Straight Facts” Report by the County, part of which gives some indication of how he was conscripted to be the front man for opposition to additional funding for the recreation facility.  

Both Southern’s presentation and the County’s information release, “Municipal Sustainability Initiative Grant Program Update,” published May 11 – 12, focus on the MSI grants which were initiated for the period 2007 to 2017, but which changes in the provincial government could alter.  Because of possible changes in MSI funding, the County Strategic Plan for the MSI grants only extends to 2013 and is contingent upon receiving the continued grants.  The use of MSI funds are basically limited to projects which have a long term impact such as capital projects.  MSI funds can NOT be used for ongoing expenses such as operating budgets or salaries.  I had considered looking at some of the broader finance issues raised at the meetings, but have realized that to do so would be nit-picking and ignoring the real issue.

Webster`s Canadian Dictionary and Thesaurus 2004 edition gives one definition of spin as, “an emphasis or slant imparted to information, proposals or policies.“  Facts and figures do not lie, but they can certainly be interpreted in a wide variety of ways, even in directly opposite ways.  Spin is very difficult to report on, especially when my own bias is directly opposite to that of the presenter and his cohorts.  That said, let’s consider how parts of the presentation reveal the real issue.

The fifth screen on the power point had two bullets reading:

*”On March 13, 2011, it came to my attention that County Council was going to vote on a resolution to give an additional 2 million dollars in MSI funding to the City of Wetaskiwin for the proposed aquatic centre.

”I contacted several county residents and community groups to advise them of this and no one had heard of this taking place.”

Southern said that he received a phone call telling him of the resolution and asking him to find a delegation to bring to the meeting which would vote upon the resolution.  Who phoned him?  

Of course no one knew of this taking place.  People do not normally follow the actions of their duly elected council closely enough to be aware of this type of normal resolution.

The last screen of the power point had two bullets reading:

*”By being here today, it shows me that you are concerned about the spending and lack of public consultation that the County of Wetaskiwin has done and want them to stop the dealing behind closed doors.

*”It is a shame that we had to do this when in fact it is the County’s duty and responsibility to act in our best interest.”

The first bullet mentions three issues: spending, lack of consultation, and dealing behind closed doors.  Without incurring debt and because it had its long range plans in place, the County of Wetaskiwin was able to take full advantage of the federal and provincial economic stimulus funds which became available during the economic downturn.  Therefore, it has been able to complete ahead of schedule a number of the items which were in the long range plan.  That is good governance and good financial management.

The normal ongoing consultation process is accomplished through direct individual contacts between the duly elected representatives and the interested parties in their divisions.  There is no indication of actual lack in consultation.

All County of Wetaskiwin Council meetings are public meetings with all discussion held in public.  The County has no private discussion meetings to prepare for the public meetings, as do some other councils and boards.

Finally, one may well ask what makes this group think that they have to do this, and why do they imply that the County is not acting in the best interest of the County as a whole.  In my opinion, the majority of the County of Wetaskiwin Council is, indeed, acting in our best interest!

As can be seen,the real issue regards the principles of governance in a democracy.  Is a democracy governed by the majority decisions of our duly elected representatives, or is it governed by a process of petitions and referendums instigated by an oppositional minority    Before nomination papers had to be filed for the election last fall, the City and County of Wetaskiwin jointly held a presentation for prospective candidates.  One of the points made about governance was this:  when the majority of the members of a board or council have made a decision, IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL MEMBERS OF THAT BOARD OR COUNCIL TO PULL TOGETHER AND SUPPORT THAT MAJORITY DECISION.  If the oppositional members of the County of Wetaskiwin Council recognized and followed this fundamental principle, these meeting would never have been held, and a lot of time and effort would not have been wasted.

Just Posted

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Sabrina Wilde in front of a recently purchased monster truck. Submitted.
Thorsby business women a finalist for 2021 Alberta Women’s Entrepreneurship Award

Sabrina Wilde with Lone Wolf Mechanical is a finalist for the entrepreneurial award.

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives for the G7 Summit, at the airport in Newquay, United Kingdom, Thursday, June 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Details on Canada’s vaccine sharing plan coming Sunday, up to 100 million doses

Canada’s high commissioner to the UK says details will come after the G7 summit

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec waves to the crowd during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Newborn daughter’s death inspires MP’s bill on bereavement leave for parents

Conservative MP Tom Kmiec says a day or two off not enough for some grieving parents

Most Read