The MRA has a long history of working with and, as appropriate, supporting the MLA, the senior organization, on community initiatives that they have undertaken. We hold the greatest respect for them and their leadership. In fact, we believe that the Township has benefited significantly from the contributions made by each organization. The one area over which we have differed greatly is political involvement at local election time. Particularly, the MLA penchant to interview candidates. Largely based on this ‘snapshot in time’, the MLA chooses to rank the candidates as to their suitability for office and their support of the MLA vision and agenda for the community. This seems to us to be a dangerous perversion of democracy and not in keeping with basic and long tested ethical standards.
A more detailed and thorough explanation of our reasoning and the dangers can be found on our web site. We encourage you to read it. – Election Slates – In Our Opinion
The slate of candidates endorsed by the MLA basically blesses the contributions and performances of those in office for the last four years. This slate appears to be in lock-step with the slate of candidates recommended by the ‘Save the Bala Falls’ advocacy group. In our view, these endorsements pay insufficient attention to the all too evident shortcomings of the existing incumbents, their individual ethical performances, their questionable expenditures of taxpayer moneys, and their inability to understand the need for policies which will promote and lead to a sustainable future for our community.
The MRA have their opinions and concerns about the fairness and thoroughness of the MLA interview, ranking and endorsements process, fueled by the awarding of an additional ‘half star’ to the incumbent Mayor – an all too obvious and transparent way to protect and support earlier endorsement. Further, to allow Sandy Currie, a current MLA Director, to continue to hold office and run for a seat on Council is astounding. It does not recognize the obvious conflict of interest, and can easily be interpreted as MLA arrogance and for a desire to control Township business. Former MLA Director Phil Harding’s delay in stepping down at the last election, and the perceived conflict of interest by the incumbent Mayor due to the location of her cottage relative to the proposed Bala Falls Power plant, are additional examples that ethics, character analysis and behaviour did not have a significant seat at the interview table.
The MRA believes that ethics matter. We believe that the MLA should not take comfort in their endorsement policy, demanded or not by their membership. Further we believe the MLA should take note of the public perception that they are trying to influence and control outcomes to their advantage. And finally, the MRA’s regular and detailed observations of individual performances at all Council and Planning meetings over the last four years allow us to opine that the slate put forward by the MLA does not stand muster. In our opinion and with respect, this assessment should not be relied upon when the individual voter exercises his/her franchise.
Doug Bryden – Chair of the MRA Ethics Committee
Liz Denyar – President – Muskoka Ratepayers’ Association
This election is important