Open All Police Board Committees

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QUOTABLE

“That is a citizen’s right to observe the functioning of municipal government in all its pieces, and it reflects the provincial priority to promote transparency and accountability.”

Lawyer Stéphane Émard-Chabot on opening Police Services Board standing committees

One of the best parts of municipal government is that citizens get to directly express their opinions at standing committees.

It is direct democracy at its finest … the way the early pioneers of democracy envisaged it.

Unfortunately meetings of standing committees of the Ottawa Police Services Board are held behind closed doors. Furthermore the locations of those meetings are not revealed.

This must end.

Ottawa Police Services Board chairman Eli El-Chantiry needs to move to the forefront of democracy and open government. Opening standing committees to the public will be messy. But then democracy is messy. But it’s better than the alternative.

El-Chantiry needs to lead the fight to open board standing committee meetings and publicize their locations with a good lead time.

The chairman should get on the side of the angels, which in this case is open meetings and democratic debate. El-Chantiry is a good man so he should follow his best instincts. Do what is right.

And given how business has been going recently at the police board recently, the chairman could use a couple of angels in his corner.


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