The 3 Elected Officials, (“3EOs”), “Stewards” of the incorporation process, sought to avert recurrence of the 2002 rejection of incorporation. Urban Systems consultants (“UrbanS”) were hired to work with the 3EOs.
To obscure the “schooling” nature of the process the 3EOs created in succession the “Governance Study” and the “Incorporation Study” Committees, ostensibly to guide UrbanS to awaken our lurking desire for governance change and teach us the “facts” that would make us incorporation fans. And to intimidate us: Who would dare confront 3EOS, a pair of august Committees and a mighty Consultant?
They created fake optics of soliciting, receiving and considering public input. But they steadfastly refused to publish the input they got. They feared the spreading and the cross-polication of ideas and handled it by suppressing each submissions individually, by stealth. They used the information to fine-tune their persuading.
Neither committee did anything notable other than endorse and propagate the UrbanS “facts”, attire it in colour locale and serve it to us as if we had asked for that.
The UrbanS “finished”, the Study Committee disbanded and the 3EOs took it upon themselves to take us for the ride through the last stretch to incorporation. They built a website and promised: “all questions will be answered”. This proved no to be true, either.
I did make submissions, to UrbanS, the Committees and to 3EOs, but they censored all, instantaneously, surreptitiously. God only knows how many citizen submissions they wastebasketed.
Brenda Guiled escaped censorship by going public with her criticism of UrbanS “facts”. The 3EOs panicked and jumped on her neck, all in public view. But she exposed what the 3EOs were struggling to hide – she let the cat out of the bag.
The closing scene of the Incorporation schooling was the rather sterile “Debate” of August 30. Indeed, they down-toned their language, calling it “discussion” instead of “debate”. It was “moderated” by George Abbott, billed as “former Minister”, instead of “current consultant” which he is.
The 3EOs appointed UrbanS to chaperone Abbott, so as to double-safeguard the wobbly “facts” which would result in incorporation. Dieticians say “You are what you eat”; geeks prefer “Garbage in, garbage out”.
The “fact checker” sat idle thoughout the “debate”, intimidating some, pretending not to hear challenges to “facts”, silently consenting to the UrbanS utterances being, let’s say “indefensible”.
The moderator read out questions and enforced time limits. For there was no debating done, the event being almost a Love-In. Instead of sparks flying, the debating teams kept on applauding each other. There were no questions from the Public allowed – the 3EOs would not risk that ...
It was more of Sgt. Schultz’s “Ya vol mein Commandant” and a far cry from Mulroney pointing the finger at Turner, dripping indignation, telling him “You had an option Sir – you could have said No!” That which, for better of worse, affected the course of Canada.
Would they had tunneled as they did, if they could pursue incorporation in the light of day? That is the Question.