Typical of the previous editions of this so-called journal, and of his previous efforts called the Musqueteer's Journal, published over the the years preceeding the last municipal elections, this one is full of mean and venomous attacks against ex-mayor Richard Lalonde, the previous council and its chief administrative officer, ex-MPP Jean-Marc Lalonde, one of his newspaper competitor ECHO Guide inc, and any one who have criticized his views publicly in the past.
For sheer hypocrisy, this one takes the cake. Articles with broad-brush personal attacks are accompanied with a self-serving one describing himself as a gentleman in his approach to settling the Chamberland Crossing Limited issue with Clarence-Rockland, and with good measure another one piously announcing his installation of a statue of our Lady of Lourdes by the Clarence-Rockland medical center. Oh, please!
It is not my purpose here to respond to the personal attacks levied in this edition of what, in my view, would be more accurately described as gutter press. Those who are targets of lawyer Lalonde's venon can, and should in my view, respond publicly with a view of setting the record straight and preserving their reputation in the face of lawyer Lalonde's savagery.
I do wish however to address an issue near and dear to my heart: the role of question period during municipal council meetings.
In an article titled "Response to The Mistaken Clarafications of J.M. Lalonde" by Georges Guibord (uncle to mayor Guibord I beleive), he writes about "those who since the elections were sabotaging the question period, and now that this problem is practically corrected, my article has acheived its purpose."
Georges Guibord's attitude about question period fails in my view to accept or understand that it is a marvelous tool in a healthy and vigourous democracy; it gives the opportunity to citizens, by their questions, to have the mayor and other council members publicly account for their decisions and policies. Denying, denigrating or critizing this activity as Georges Guibord does, flies in the face of the required standard of transparency which I expect from the municipal elected officals, and certainly far from the level of transparency which he claims is well practiced by mayor Guibord; in my opinion, many times he has fallen quite short of exibiting the required level of transparency and honesty in answering citizens' questions during council meetings.
Here is a true story, occuring during a council meeting held last summer in Bourget, following the publication on Facebook of the Netaliano emails, projecting lawyer Lalonde and mayor Guibord in a pretty poor light. During question period, I for one one asked the mayor to address the authenticity of those emails; he refused to do so, weakly claiming he could not because they were under police investigations.
During the break following question period a gentleman approached me; here is the dialogue:
He: Why don't you leave them (council members) alone to do their work.
Me: Sir, publicly accounting for their decisions and policies by answering the citizens' questions IS part to of their work.
At that, he simply turned around and left in silence.
Evidently Georges Guibord still does not get it. He, and like-thinking people obviously cannot or will not understand that public accountability by elected officials in a healthy democracy must be an every day issue, willingly accepted by them. Transparency and the avoidance of abuse demand it; history is full of examples testifying to that imperative.
Georges Guibord and those who are like-thinking, I say to you: question period during municipal council meetings is not a problem to be corrected by discouraging or denigrating those who through their perceptive questions publicly hold the mayor and other council members publicly accountable for their policies and decisons. It should be lauded as a tool which can play a very useful role in maintaining a sound and transparent administration of Clarence-Rockland municipal affairs, funded by the citizens with their taxes after all.
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