Frequent Bulldog contributor Ron Benn looks at what he wants from Ottawa city councillors in this excellent essay:
I am not as concerned about whether councillors are progressive or regressive.
I am more concerned about councillors being independent.
Independent as in not beholden to developers because they accepted campaign contributions from the developers or their principals. Independent as in not beholden to the mayor or other councillors because they needed assistance with organizing, fundraising and/or access to feet on the ground while campaigning for office. Independent as in not beholden to the mayor or other councillors for being rewarded with the chair of a committee. Independent as in willing and capable of evaluating issues on the basis of principle and what is best for the community and the city. Independent as in viewing issues without the baggage of a zealot. Sadly, this council is comprised of far too many councillors who do not meet these criteria.
Video above: Ottawa City Council in action.
There is considerable pressure, from the regulators, such as the Ontario Securities Commission, and the Securities Exchange Commission in the U.S., and from institutional shareholders, such as pension funds, and insurance companies, on public and private companies to ensure that their boards of directors are comprised of independent, properly trained directors. A number of universities, including uOttawa, are offering courses that address this requirement.
In contrast, there is no pressure from anyone to ensure that individuals who are seeking public office have any understanding of their obligations. As a shareholder of a public company, I can sell my shares if I don’t like what I see. As a taxpayer, that option is not available.
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