The problem: It is clear to anyone who attends regular meetings of the City Council that the purpose of these meetings is to very quickly rubber-stamp decisions that have already been made. There is very rarely debate of any kind, and almost every motion passes unanimously. Most councillors don’t even bother raising their hands to signify “yay” or “nay” when a resolution is put to a vote. Some councillors read the newspaper or play on their Blackberries—and Frederictonians pay them to do so. A good example of what a City Council meeting is like can be seen below:
Proposed solution: Debate and make decisions at regular, public meetings of the City Council. Scrutinize recommendations made by the Planning Advisory Committee. Have the courage to vote “nay” to resolutions which are not in the public interest. This way, the people of Fredericton will have a meaningful connection to their municipal government, and our democracy will become truly engaging.