Glover speaks to the motion to eject Occupy.
In council's last meeting before Christmas, Bill Glover spoke to the motion to eject Occupy and, as readers will see, this was not simply a routine matter of “bylaw enforcement”. Here's what he said:
The motion before us notes “the contravention of the City’s by-laws.” Allow me to begin by saying as the district councillor how interesting I find it that so many seem concerned about this specific by-law enforcement in Sydenham district. As many students will tell you, by-law enforcement with respect to parking, property standards and fire safety is a real problem, exacerbated by our reactive rather than proactive process. It is a much more enduring and seemingly difficult problem than the Occupy movement, that has now been catapulted in priority.
But what about Occupy ?
There has been a lot of what I would characterise as idle chatter about the number of e-mails or phone calls there have been in support of, or complaining about Occupy. At the end of the day I would suggest it is as useful as the mover’s November 27 statement to us all: “the Occupiers have cost the City $2,500 so far in the cost to repair the electrical service to the park they damaged” -- a statement that is simply not supported by the facts. Yesterday Commissioner Leger told me that he had been advised by Real Estate and Construction that “the cost to repair the breakers was largely in staffing time as they were able to take the existing breakers out, dry them and reinstall them. The cost of the labour to do this on two separate occasions amounted to approximately $200 in total.”
I do not think the substance of the public discussion is any better informed. We must, or perhaps I can only hope for “we should” remember that we are civic leaders, not followers of the chattering classes.
How many people who have phoned or e-mailed us, or otherwise expressed views, remember, let alone have addressed comments by such people as former Prime Minister Paul Martin on November 18, 2011: “These young people have touched a chord...I think it is a very important thing they have done...the fact is that the free market system works, but unless governments and people are constantly watching out for rampant inequalities, unless they understand the need for redistribution programs, unless they understand the need to invest in education and better health care and a better environment, then effectively the free market system will fail on its own accord...when you look at what’s been said by some of the bankers in New York and Europe, you understand the absolute need for people to stand up and say, ‘no, this is wrong, we’re going to fight for our generation and for the generations to come.’”
If a former Liberal prime minister is not to your taste, what about Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of Canada, who has said that the Occupy movement is “entirely constructive.” And, of course, he is acting on his words. Notwithstanding the vocal opposition of the large American banks, as the new chair of the G20's Financial Stability Fund and using “name and shame” tactics, he is working to ensure the banks deemed “too large to fail” will, in fact, have the proper reserves so that they do not fail.
That begs the question, what can we, Kingston City Council, do? Noting a recent Globe and Mail article that the OECD found that “the income gap in Canada is well above the 34-country average” (surely Paul Martin’s “rampant inequality”) we could require that no city employee, contractor, or individual providing services through a third party contractor is paid less than a living wage. We could petition the province to limit the the tax break we are required to give property owners who leave their properties vacant. Each of those measures would be entirely within Council's jurisdiction.
But we haven't.
The statement in this motion that the Occupiers should leave because “Council will continue to work as diligently as possible on matters of concern to the movement that are within the City’s jurisdiction” would seem to equal the accuracy of the statement that they have cost us $2,500.
What have we done in response to Occupy ?
What is being proposed that we do ?
Later in this meeting we will be discussing a proposal to provide $100,000 of taxpayers' money for what amounts to little more than a developers’ lobby group. How's that for playing to the 1 percent ?
The motion does not deserve support.
Bill will welcome your comments / ideas about this issue.
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