Marc D’arcy community organizer gives his reaction to Council not recognizing the citizens dissatisfaction to the in-camera meeting
By André Faust
In a recent leak it was learned that the Fredericton City Council held an in-camera* session that was held without the public knowledge to draft a letter of support for Energy East to proceed with its pipe line plan. According to the Council of Canadians the city contravened the municipalities act when it held a closed in-camera session on January 25, 2016 to discuss and approve the letter of support that was requested by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, close meetings or in camera meetings according to the municipalities act M-22 are only permissible in matters that are personal, involves litigation, security etc, etc.
In response to the city violation of the act a number of demonstrators attended Monday night’s council meeting in anticipation that the four councilors who opposed the motion to draft the support letter to Prime Minister Trudeau would have moved to have the matter added to the agenda so that the public could be informed of the in camera session and what was discussed. Council was aware to why and the reason that the demonstrators were there, rather than addressing the matter with the demonstrators, council choose to ignore the group who purpose was to address the in camera meeting. The group re acted quietly, stood up and turn their backs to council then quietly without creating a disturbance left.
Following the acceptance of the agenda it was clear that the issue of the letter was not going to be added to the agenda.
What is known about the secret meeting of January 25, 2016 is that councilors John MacDermin, Greg Ericson, Randy Dickinson and Kate Rogers voted against the letter of support, Councilor Marilyn Kerton was not present for this meeting. The motion to authorize the writing of the support letter was moved and seconded by Dan Keenan and Stephen Chase. It is not known at this time if there were any other councilors absent for this meeting.
In the 3 volume report that the New Brunswick Commission on Hydraulic Fracturing stated that 75% of New Brunswickers were very concerned about the impact that fossil fuels would have on the environment, and that a social license at this time to further the expansion of the fossil fuel industry would likely not be attained. That leaves the question to why would council give support without public consultation if at the present the likelihood of a social license is unlikely.
* In camera (/ɪŋˈkæmᵊrə/; Latin: “in a chamber”) is a legal term that means in private. The same meaning is sometimes expressed in the English equivalent: in chambers. Generally, in-camera describes court cases, parts of it, or process where the public and press are not allowed to observe the procedure or process. – Wikipedia