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Social media policy up for debate during Greater Sudbury’s packed meeting on Tuesday

Tuesday night’s meeting of Greater Sudbury city council is jam-packed due in part to it including a number of items held over from the Oct. 12 agenda
Tom Davies Square. (File)

Tuesday’s city council meeting is largely a regurgitation of the Oct. 12 agenda as a result of city council only making it approximately halfway through that week’s agenda.

New to Tuesday’s meeting, however, is a request for a report from city administration on a social media policy for members of city council and local boards. 

Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti first suggested introducing the policy last month in response to ongoing concerns regarding Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan’s activities on Facebook, which his colleagues on city council recently voted to reprimand him for. 

Outside of the city’s Code of Conduct, a city spokesperson clarified that there is currently no policy governing city council’s online activities. 

The Code of Conduct clarifies: 

17. Every Member shall:

(a) adhere to any and all City policies and guidelines, regarding social media use; and

(b) always identify themselves without any attempt to cover, disguise or mislead as to their identity or status as an elected representative of the City when using social media.

Signoretti has been joined by Ward 6 Coun. René Lapierre in drafting the motion, which notes that social media is a prevalent form of communication for many elected officials and that they require “clear guidelines to support openness, transparency and proper conduct.”

Kirwan has already argued against the motion through a Facebook post on the Valley East page he manages with his wife, Valerie. 

“Just because I happen to be a Councillor with more knowledge about municipal affairs than most members of the public is no reason to deny me the opportunity to earn a living outside of Council,” Kirwan wrote. 

“City Council cannot set the standards. Facebook sets the standards and administrators are expected to make sure that those standards are met or the site could be shut down.

“This motion is clearly not needed and if it is approved, it will lead to some uncomfortable public discussions about what Councillors should and should not be able to do in representing their constituents.”

Included in the items caring forward from the Oct. 12 meeting is a motion by Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland seeking stronger assurances from the partners involved in the Kingsway Entertainment District. 

The motion was first introduced during the Sept. 28 city council meeting but timed out when that meeting hit its three-hour mark and council voted against extending proceedings. Although it met a similar fate on Oct. 12, it appears much further up on the agenda this time around. 

Homelessness consultant Iain De Jong is expected to continue the presentation he started Oct. 12, whose question period was cut short when that meeting hit the three-hour mark.

During last week’s finance and administration meeting, Mayor Brian Bigger publicly mused about a return to in-person city council and committee meetings. The question is expected to be raised during Tuesday’s meeting.

During Tuesday’s meeting, city council is also expected to vote on matters arising from the Oct. 13 planning committee, which included the committee’s approval of three single-family homes on four lots along South Bay Road. 

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. and a livestream of the meeting can be found by clicking here.

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for 


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Tyler Clarke

About the Author: Tyler Clarke

Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for
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