"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Thursday 15 May 2008

Response to a comment

A comment this morning asks if I mean to suggest the York Regional Police are breaking a law
by campaigning for financial advantage to the police in Municipal elections.

The Police Act governs police services. Within is the Code of Discipline A Charge or complaint can be filed under the Code. It's an internal matter and dealt with by the department brass.

The Police Association is not the Police Department. Its legitimate purpose is to represent the interests including financial, of members of the force up to management rank.

The attention of the Police Services Board Chairman was drawn to involvement of the Association in the municipal election of 2003. In the last election they were not involved. But the same questions as before were asked by Lawmen of York. It's not a big stretch to imagine who they represent. I know of no law that prohibits anyone from creating a website to accomplish a particular objective.

If there was a breach of the Code though it would not represent breaking the law in the sense of the question or my comment.

The Association of Professional Firefighters do not have the same restrictions on political activity But their campaigning efforts are also likely to have little effect on election results. There is only a suggestion of influence. As I remember their questionnaire came from Ajax or somewhere equally remote.

I do not assume firefighters or police officers are any different to any other citizen in how they jealously guard their right to make their own choices in any election. Their association executive needs to be elected ,the efforts they make to get re-elected would undoubtedly rest on the impression they create of benefitting the membership.

In the last election we had several other organizations involved. The Green Party circulated a questionnaire for candidates. A regional environment group was another. They no doubt circulated to the membership names of candidates who gave acceptable answers to their cause. Neither advertised their choice.

Aurora Sports groups formed a coalition also in time for the election They sponsored an All Candidates Meeting and circulated a questionnaire. Ron Weese, President of Aurora Minor Soccer Association and organizer of the coalition published his recommended choices on a web site.

The Coalition of Ratepayers was also organized in time for the election by Sue Walmer, understood to be heavily involved in Phyllis Morris successful campaign for the mayor's office. A questionnaire was circulated and an all candidates meeting held in the Council Chambers. Questions said to be random were asked at the meeting. But that became suspect with at least one question which could not possibly be answered by other than someone who had served on a council with Tim Jones.It accused Tim of something done in camera for which there is no record.

No slate of candidates was published by the Coalition of Ratepayers that I noticed. It has become clear since however by five members of council who consistently cast the same vote.

None of the election activity is questionable. All of it was within our democratic rights. None of it was hidden. Yet it was not necessarily understood by everyone.

Thank you for the question and the opportunity to expand on how an election can be won or lost and how elected representatives can be accountable to interests separate to the general well-being of the community.


Anonymous said...

"No slate of candidates was published by the Coalition of Ratepayers that I noticed. It has become clear since however by five members of council who onsistently cast the same vote."

Soon to be six.!

Anonymous said...

Councillor Buck,

Your attempt to clarify your comments about the York Region Police Association fall short of the mark in my opinion.

You also say that the police association's involvement in the 2003 election, drew the attention of the Polices Services Board Chairman and subsequently they were not involved in the last election, other than the questions raised by the Lawmen of York.

You say about the "Lawmen of York", "It's not a big stretch to imagine who they represent." One can only imagine that this would be the police association.

The Police Act, as you state, governs police services and your implied allegations are that the activities of the police association were a breach of this
act. You reference the "Code of Discpline". Are you suggesting the this code was breached?

I would hope that as an elected official, and former member of the police services board that you were, you would have taken the appropriate actions given your outspoken concerns about police involvement in elections.

For the record, did you file a complaint with police services board? Afterall "It's not a big stretch to imagine who they represent."