So, imagine this; for two terms you’ve been mayor of a (sort of) progressive small town on the shores of Lake Ontario, a town whose first mayor took office in 1837. But, since that mayor was inaugurated 181 years ago, it has only had one female mayor – which makes the word progressive, very questionable. But, be-that-as-it-may; it is now 2018 and, after two terms serving as mayor of this small town, you will be putting yourself out to pasture to enjoy some well deserved retirement years. But, before you do savour that moment – you just can’t resist taking one last kick at the can; writing to your chosen target, the Cobourg Tax Payers Association (CTPA) which has been an on-going thorn in your side.
Which is how Cobourg Mayor Gil Brocanier has elected to take his walk into the municipal sunset with an unable-to-resist, rambling 800+word missive to the CTPA. In so many ways the letter is a sad way for Mayor Brocanier to end his term in office, perhaps written in haste, perhaps in anger, only to be regretted after pressing Send? Who knows? In the olden days, writing a letter with the slowness of a pen, or even the faster typewriter, placing it in an envelope, taking it to the mail box – well, it gave time for pause; time to double-check one’s words, time to cool down. Thank God Cobourg has the CTPA, which has been around since 2015. Seemingly, Mayor Brocanier hasn’t noticed, writing about the CTPA, ‘Since you claim to be advocates of transparency and openness you can demonstrate that by informing Council on who you are and how you are structured.’ Well, this being modern times, if you check the CTPA website, you’ll find all you need to know.
This is also the occasion, once every four years between sitting councils, when we take a municipal time-out to contemplate the future. Such as, unopposed, what sort of mayor will John Henderson make? With eight years of solid experience as a councillor and deputy Mayor – and like all mayors-to-be, promising to do ‘good things’ for Cobourg – will he take a stand on finally protecting the western harbour? Living in a democracy, will he have an item on the end of each council meeting’s agenda for a Citizen’s Question Period?
I was going to say, ‘I’ve noticed over the years that the longer a government or council is in power, the more dictatorial and withdrawn they become, forgetting they were elected – to represent the electorate, to become the voice of the people.’ In this case, the people of Cobourg. I noticed that the retiring council elected to hire ‘consultants’ on numerous occasions, begging the question, ‘What were the Council members elected for in the first place?’ As well, the retiring Council, by the end of its term, like other Councils before them, appeared withdrawn and separate from the electorate that voted for them. It is important that our newly elected Council takes a moment to consider the citizens of Cobourg by creating, at the end of each Council meeting, at a minimum, a fifteen minute Citizen’ Voices moment, whereby citizens of Cobourg can speak to Council, without notice (eliminating off-putting red tape) about … well, anything they feel is important to or affects our community. Let this Council be different; let it never forget who put it in office.
Oh, and one more thing: Mayor Brocanier wrote in his response to the CTA, ‘I did not mention that those with a different view of mine should leave town. I very specifically mentioned the small core of chronic malcontents contributing to blogs on John Draper’s website that are so critical of everything and said, if they are so unhappy, maybe they should leave town.’
Hmmm. It’s a funny old world.
Provided by Cobourg News Blog
- Gil Brocanier Gives Advice in Farewell Speech – 5 October 2018 – report by Cobourg News Blog
- Open letter from CTA to Gil
- Download Gil Brocanier’s complete letter – October 7 – responding to letter from CTA [scanned from hard copy supplied by Grahame Woods]
- Letter from CTA responding to Gil’s letter – October 14
- Cobourg Taxpayer’s Web site
Note that the letters between Gil and the CTA were not initially copied to the media but were addressed to Councillors and Candidates.