Perhaps Councillor Hawkins doesn’t realize the current format for generating citizen input isn’t a problem, because no one can figure out how to tell him that it is, at a Council meeting. Perhaps seeing me, and Jim Elliot once in a while speaking as citizens suggests it’s possible to speak before council, but the average citizen does not make that sort of bordering-on-futile civic effort to engage. I’d include John Hopkins for his frequent appearances too, but he’s there only to represent a corporate entity, not as a citizen.
“It’s a better system, a more democratic system, a better way of getting citizen input than we had before,” said Hawkins. As for the tight timeline for submitting briefs, Hawkins said it’s never been a problem.
“That’s the way it’s always been and the reason is simply that citizens know what issues are before council and they can submit to the issue,” he said.
I’d really enjoy watching Councillor Hawkins explain to someone how to look up the agenda for the upcoming meeting so they can write something to be in by Thursday, when the agenda doesn’t appear until the Friday after. They’d ask if he’s serious, at which point he’d probably yell at them and make them cry.
“Fougere pointed out that members of council are themselves only allowed five minutes.”
That’s something you’d never guess if you’ve watched a Council meeting.
As well, he noted residents don’t need to provide written briefs to city committees. “You can walk off the street, have nothing written at all and speak at anyone of our committees. No other levels of government allow that democratic process for residents to speak their views,” said Fougere.
Nor would most people expect that sort of access at the provincial or federal levels. They certainly do expect that sort of access at a local level, however.
If you try to plan when next to speak to Council, and you go to their page with upcoming meetings, there are 2 listed. You may speak at neither of them, having missed the deadline by at least 4 days. Being an average citizen, you didn’t know probably that you could still speak if you send in your brief anyway and ask to be put on the agenda.
If you aim to speak when the Mayor suggests, you’ll have to figure out to click on the yearly calendar, if it’s been updated to the current year. The committee dates in red are proposed times only, and have not been approved. 9 committee meetings are during the typical work day, so the people strolling in off the street will possibly have to book time off work to appear informally. If a quorum of committee members don’t show up in time, the meeting will be rescheduled, but this has only happened once out of the three times I’ve attended these sorts of meetings.
Easy as pie! Regina’s Councillors are standing by to hear your voice (insert day here).