Public question period
At its last meeting Hastings Highlands Township Council passed a motion adding a second public question period to its Council meetings. It already provided for one question period at the end of each meeting, but has now added one at the beginning. This will allow attendees, according to Mayor Vic Bodnar, to get clarification on what will be talked about during the meetings. “It’s a matter of going back to the transparency and accountability of things that we want to have happen,” Bodnar said.
Hastings Highlands also resolved to have Council meetings in the evenings, starting on May 29 at 6 p.m. Bodnar said, “A night meeting opens Council up to everyone that wants to attend.”
Contrast this with Madawaska Valley. The previous Council held a public/media question period at the end of each meeting of Council and also Committees. The new Council immediately scrapped this when it passed a new Procedural By-Law and substituted a provision which permits questions to be asked only “subject to the approval of the majority of members of Council.” This places the onus on potential questioners, including the media, to lobby for permission to pose a question instead of having the automatic right to ask one. However, agendas for Council meetings do not include a spot for this purpose.
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