Following the success of Collingwood’s Comedy Duo, whose act has taken them on tour across the nation on the taxpayers’ dollar, our Deputy Mayor has entered the ring as our jester-du-jour. And since the Duo’s main act was sidelined recently by not being allowed to keep a snout into the FCM trough, it looks like Brian’s act may be the foremost comedy skit in the council burlesque. Who would have thought a lawyer could also be a clown?
At a recent Council meeting (June 12, 2017) he had the audience in stitches with his new routines. And not just his always-risible English gaffes when he starts his speeches with “moved by me…”! You can watch it on Rogers TV starting at 1:22:23 when he presents a request for a staff report (cunningly not included with the meeting’s agenda so as to keep the element of comic surprise alive when it was presented!).
Watch and listen. Brian uses words like “accountability” and “transparency” like they are something he suddenly discovered and we need to get to them now. Like frickin’ right now. And staff better give us a report about them because these are hot stuff!
Too bad the camera didn’t pan out to catch the baffled looks on the faces of his minion Block members. Heads were shaking and rattling sounds could be heard from them. Blockheads had never heard him use those words before, at least not since the election campaign and certainly not directed at them. The Block stands for secrecy, for scurrying behind closed doors to discuss policy, to making decisions via email not in the public. For conniving and conning, for ignoring the public and blaming everyone else.
Yet after two-and-a-half years in office, here is Der Leader suddenly telling them he wants to see more “accountability,” more “transparency.” They must have piddled themselves in terror. What, they wondered, do those words mean?
How would they be able to continue their rampage, to destroy the water utility, the electrical utility, the airport, and put roadblocks up for the hospital if they had to do it in public? How could they conduct their private vendettas if they had to be open and transparent? How could they grovel at the feet of the interim CAO and worship his every word if they had to do it openly? They couldn’t! Their machinations would be at an end!
The joke was on them, because it’s all an act. A cunning comic routine. Brian was just pulling everyone’s leg. Of course they won’t be any more open and accountable than they have in the past. That would ruin everything! You could almost hear the media guffawing as he spoke. They, at least, got it.
But obviously he didn’t let the minions in on his joke. At the end of his speech, they sat mute, stunned by his volte-face, looking like deer in the headlights. So startling was the impact of them that Councillor “Sleepy” Ecclestone almost awoke.
It’s a laugh riot to hear Brian use those words, but we know it’s all just an act, part of his new standup routine. Maybe he’s thinking of taking it on the road after the next election.
At 1:25:10 Brian complains that Rogers is going to be cutting back its services, and that the company doesn’t cover the committee meetings. What a hoot! Of course he knows, as you know dear reader, that The Block deliberately set up the committee system to avoid that coverage, even to the point of moving some meetings to the top floor of another building to further discourage public scrutiny and access. And The Block fired the town’s Integrity Commissioner in its first year to avoid further investigations into their behaviour.
To hear Brian lament about the lack is truly hilarious. I almost expected him to weep crocodile tears as he said it.
As the Connection story noted (the reporter must have worked hard not to stick ROTFL and LOL into the brief):
Deputy Mayor Brian Saunderson requested a staff report looking at potential policy changes, which he hopes, would result more transparency. Saunderson asked staff to look at a number of initiatives including changing the procedural bylaw to include recorded votes. He also wants to look at enhanced streaming, in camera procedures and a joint integrity commissioner with the county.
He actually says they should do something to “enhance our accountability” at 1:25:23. Well, yes, Brian. Something would work: telling the truth to the public for example. Well it would have, two and a half years ago. The intervening years of deception, manipulation, and outright lies, the broken trust, the entitlement and the corruption make it unlikely anyone in town will ever vote for them again. The only something that might restore public confidence in this government now is a mass resignation by this lot. But I digress.
At 1:25:40 he says “it would be worthwhile at this time for our community to look at how we can improve our governance and policies and procedures.” Damned right, but we have to await the next municipal election, in 2018, when we can throw the whole, corrupt lot of them out on their collective ears. That will fix things. Not faux attempts to fix the bylaws is going to make anyone trust this lot. Having The Block “fix” their processes would be akin to having the foxes design the chicken coop security. They haven’t allowed public input or open discussion on any major issue since they were elected: no one expects them to start doing it now.
Although most of them were too gobsmacked to comment, not everyone was silent after he finished. At 1:26:16, Councillor Mike “Where’s My Spine?” Edwards confesses he can’t remember everything Brian said a few seconds ago, but wants boards and committees added to the list (what list?). Well, sure, but it’s not like they matter to The Block. Whenever boards act independently and do what’s right for the boards they represent, The Block fires them and puts in puppets who will do the administration’s bidding. Just like they did with the electrical utility and the water utility. Doesn’t even matter to them that this is flagrantly illegal and unethical: laws and ethics are for other people. So sure, Mike, include committees and boards, as if The Block would allow them to actually do anything they weren’t told to do.
But come on. We all know that it doesn’t matter who gets mentioned in the punch line. It’s all a poke-in-the-ribs, nudge-nudge-wink-wink joke. Openness and transparency and The Block on the same page? That’s roll on the floor funny.
It was an entertaining moment for council and council watchers alike, a chance to laugh at the Deputy Mayor’s premiere performance as the new council clown. I’ll bet a sequel skit is in the works already, maybe one about how they’re still “kicking tires” and not secretly negotiating with the for-profit corporation EPCOR to sell them our public assets.
But next time, Brian, wear your red nose. That way at least your fellow Blockheads will get the joke.
Collingwood deserves better.