Apparently some participants pay as much as $20,000 to "dine" with a premier, others as little as $5,000.
Does one receive value for money, some special insight into the thinking of the province's top politician?
Is confidential information passed, "leaked" as it were?
Do the favoured few receive embossed menus, match folders with the province's crest in gold?
Apparently these are common at the White House, and not just for State Dinners.
Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 2 April 2016 at 22:24
A less ominous view is the dinners provide opportunity for communication between people and their elected representatives.
There is opportunity for people to participate in electionsz; volunteering., providing a spot for a sign, contributing financially or putting one's name forward as a candidate and risking rejection.
Opportunity to communicate with legislators once elected, is surely in order
The problem arises out of selling the opportunity.
It means equal opportunity is available only to those who can afford to pay . The issue then becomes one of advantage rather than opportunity.
Governments at all levels strive to obtain public input into pending legislation. They spend time and
resources on the effort. They employ an army of bureaucrats. With every layer, communication is reduced.
Municipal bylaws never used to be given three readings at one sitting.
Premiers and Cabinet Ministers used to leave their cloistered offices to discuss new legislation
in public venues where everyone could hear, bring forward their concerns and hopefully affect the legislation. And we did.
Provincially hosted conferences encouraged input from Councillors and municipal staff into
pending legislation to be implemented locally. Now the decisions are made several steps removed
from the people involved.
A particular example comes to mind of why a business might prefer to have private discussions with the Premier and Cabinet Ministers. It's current and local.
Municipalities are required to adopt Official Plans. Which must conform to regional plans which must conform to provincial policies.
Land owners are entitled to apply for a change of land use.
The procedure is provincially regulated.
Regulation requires a municipality to decide within a time limit. Failure to do so means
the land owner has the right to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. The municipality, in that circumstance has surrendered authority.
Responsibility is voluntarily transferred to the Ontario Municipal Board.
The OMB does not usurp municipal authority. An appellant land owner does not exceed his/her rights.
The last thing a developer needs is a public squabble with a municipality. Time is money and the latter has many means to delay a project.
At the same time, the building industry is a large part of a provincial and national economy.
They don't need to apologize for what they do. Just about every other industry is stimulated by a thriving building industry.Many jobs are dependent.
A legislated time limit to process an application may have come about after a successful dinner with the movers and shakers. Price of admission was well spent so long as municipalities abide by the regulations.
In Aurora, with an application to develop a defunct golf course , the rules were ignored.
An application to develop half the area of a former golf course was not processed.
Three public hearings were held although only one is required.
A year went by , staff were kept occupied, mountains of paper, gallons of ink ,thousands of words of sound and fury and in the end ....nothing was achieved . Nil, nada ,zilch and zero. The stall was complete.
A pre- hearing conference has been held.
The land owner was informed the OMB calendar does not allow for a six week hearing for another year.
The town deliberately failed to process the application under the law. The OMB claims lack of resources. Two years are lost to the industry. Without even trying.
BTW the town solicitor has apparently disappeared quietly from the scene. After eight years of town service he married ,honeymooned and never returned.
No mention of his departure. No photo opportunity. No best wishes in his future endeavors .
Vamoosed. Evaporated. Disappeared into thin air. With nary a whisper. Like he never was.
Yet he was and I know because he told me , in a public meeting, a solicitor's first responsibility is as officer of the court. First duty is servant of the law It takes precedence over service to the municipality.
He would not, on pain of losing his licence to practice law, advise council anything that does not conform to the law.
Years ago I said the blog often takes off in a direction of its own. This one has.
I intended to say...simply... a group of developers might seek opportunity and be willing to pay to attest to the fact that municipalities are not abiding by provincial law.
And further, a resolution currently circulating, proposes to deny the right to an appeal process.