I will guarantee that if you had an off the record candid conversation with integrity commissioner Robert Swayze after last Monday evenings fractious council meeting, he would say he has never seen anything quite like that in his professional career. He was retained by the town as an independent arbitrator, he is not part of any particular group, he has no skin in the game, he has no political axe to grind. And yet the derision and contempt that he was publicly subjected to by Kevin Lloyd was quite astounding.
I have been in possession of Mr. Swayze’s report since early last week. Contrary to some of the internet raving’s in various forms of social media about it; I didn’t find it all that damning. I decided against doing a bit on it because to be honest I am a little road weary right now and I decided it was just electronic page filler only to be read by my most ardent followers. I actually almost skipped Monday evenings council meeting. because I thought it would be another lame duck affair that has prevailed since late summer. But I thought what the hell I will go and catch up with a few familiar faces and see how the various election campaigns were going.
When I walked in, the meeting had already started. But I found it rather strange because there was complete silence and the normally staid atmosphere that surrounds these gatherings was replaced with an electric palpable sense of anticipation. I asked someone that was sitting close to me what was going on. They whispered something about “Lloyds lawyer Shaw had submitted a rebuttal of the integrity report”. I thought ah this could be more interesting than I originally thought. I also thought why would Rick Lloyd draw more attention to this thing than is necessary.
I will not get into the ins and outs of what transpired at the later portion of that council meeting, it’s well documented all over social media. The point of this post is to point out a few things that transpired in this council meeting that to me underline exactly what has been amiss (also right) with this town council. I will present it in list format:
1. The Mayor was completely silent the whole time that this farce was going on. With the exception of berating the audience’s clapping, gasps of disbelief and howls of indignation. If ever there was evidence of her complete lack of any kind of leadership roll, it was on full display Monday evening. She was out of her depth stumbling and mumbling her words, looked and acted like the small town country mouse that she really is. I have almost excepted that she will be around for another 4 years, but for God sakes folks anything is better than this vacuous puppet representing our town.
2. These people actually believe they are going to be re-elected. The arrogance that permeates from all of them is quite apparent. I have now started to second guess myself. I am not stupid enough to think that this bunch will be clean sweeped away into the annals of Collingwood’s political grave yard. But I do live in hope that at least two or three of them will be shown the door, and enough new vibrant people will get elected including, in one of the top two positions, to actually make a difference.
3. Dale West’s complete capitulation was a jaw dropper. He quite rightly stated it was a circus. Then voted along with the ringmaster and the trained monkeys. Did we all misinterpret what he was calling a circus? Was he actually saying that Gardhouse, Hull and Edwards stance was the circus? I am perplexed.
4. Rick Lloyd loves all this stuff. He comes across as the slightly rotund, jolly “Aw Shucks” everyman, with his bad suit and comb over hair. But he is the consummate puppet master. He knew full well the ruckus it would cause by letting his brief look at the Swayze document. What else is a small town lawyer going to do? Say to Lloyd “Em actually Rick he makes some good points you better go take your medicine”. Of course not he’s going to do what lawyers do best, denigrate another lawyers deposition with a counter argument in favour of his client.
5. The integrity commissioner was never put on a retainer by this council to make rock solid legal arguments, to stand the scrutiny of a court of law or someone lawyering up and shooting holes through a report. I am quite sure the intent was to guide council through the maze of what constitutes a conflict of interest in the political arena. To be honest if Lloyd thinks his dealings with Assaff do not constitute any conflict (which he doesn’t) then it is quite apparent, what many people in Collingwood have known for years, he is not fit for public office.
6. Joe Gardhouse should have run for council. His performance this term has been quite admirable and although I did not support him as Mayor. I would have quite happily returned him to council. Ditto Keith Hull both will be sorely missed.
7. Ian Chadwick started his Scripturient blog post today with the following:
“Last night at council I referred to seeing what I believed was a post hoc fallacy in a report, or more properly a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Yeah, I probably annoyed some folks in the audience because I used Latin words and that confused them. But hey, they already think I’m a jerk because I can spell words like egregious and nefarious without using spellcheck, so I doubt I lost any votes over it”.
Thereby alienating 95% of his constituency. What a douche bag!!! The sooner he gets supplanted by other more worthy councillors, to the dustbin of the local political scene the better.