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Editorial: Greater Sudbury deserves better than what this council is delivering

Intransigence, partisanship, politicking, grandstanding, these are not the qualities of a healthy, effective city council

Another council meeting ends with little actual work getting done. 

Another council meeting in which the majority of council voted not to work past 9 p.m., despite the fact few if any decisions were made.

Another council meeting during which our elected officials prattled on without really saying all that much.

Another council meeting where our elected officials talked over each other and did not really listen to one another.

Another council meeting during which Mayor Brian Bigger tried to keep his little soldiers in line and marching in the same direction. Another council meeting during which he failed to do that.

Another council meeting where many, many words were spoken about the Kingsway Entertainment District, again without much really being said at all.

Another council meeting where many constituents, included, were left scratching our heads as to how any decisions ever get made by this group of people.

If you were one of the vast majority of Sudburians who did not tune into the Jan. 25 city council meeting, you spared yourself yet another evening of pain and frustration.

Yet again, our elected officials spent three hours chasing their tails without actually making any decisions. Like Schrödinger’s cat, Jan. 25 was quantum in its absurdity: it was a meeting that both was and was not.

A group of people who come together to make decisions is the definition of a meeting. So, if no decisions are actually made, can we call it meeting really?

We’re not going to call any councillors out by name here because this is not about any single councillor or group of councillors.

This is about intransigence. This is about grandstanding. This is about politicking. This is about infighting.

This criticism certainly does not apply to all of council as a whole. There are several thoughtful, considerate people around the council table, who seem to understand their role and who seem to care about the future of this city.

But their efforts and their commitment are overshadowed by those around the table who seem more interested in playing to their supporters or who are so focused on a single issue, they ignore the myriad of issues with which councillors should have more than a passing familiarity.

It is painfully clear many of these people we’ve elected — and whom we pay to pay attention — are not reading staff reports before meetings. It is painfully clear many of our elected officials are not looking at their meeting agendas until the meeting begins.

There is work to be done and yet week after week, we watch council meetings pass during which very little work actually gets done. But, boy, they sure do a lot of talking, don’t they? 

Too many times we have watched councillors ask questions of staff and staff respond with the preface, “As stated in the report ….” So either the councillor did not read the report but should have, or did read the report and is only asking the question to get some microphone time.

Greater Sudbury has some major issues to tackle. It is not all about the KED. We have a homelessness crisis, an opioid crisis, a lack of affordable housing crisis, an infrastructure deficit crisis.

We are 10 months away from a municipal election. Several of our current crop of council want us to vote for them again. Once the campaign begins in earnest, it behooves us — taxpayers and voters — to really pay attention to the people seeking election.

The mayoral race usually grabs the most attention, but remember, the mayor is just one vote. A capable head of council understands that single-vote limitation and knows how to move their agenda forward regardless.

But the race is not just about the head of council. Pay particular attention to the councillor candidates in your ward, to their ideas, to their demeanour, to how much work they put into their campaigns. Are they running on a single issue or do they have a slate of issues they feel are important? Do they seem to be bridge builders or bridge breakers?

Elections are a time of renewal. Looking at the past four years of this council, that renewal cannot come fast enough for Greater Sudbury.'s editorial opinion is determined by an editorial board made up of senior staff.


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