Thursday, August 6, 2009
INDEMNITY FOR TORONTO CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS?
When Toronto City Council convened on August 5, 2009, after the recent strike by T.O. City Employees, the Toronto City Council Members made a proposal, to have an indemnity, made against any members of the public who chose to publicly speak out against their actions. This would've also included the media who was their primary focus, as well as any other members of the public, who has exposed their actions. The proposal which is not new, but has been around since 2005, I believed, they also wanted to get approval for. They wanted legal protection against such an action, from the public and some Toronto City Council Members, such as Howard Moscoe, who spoke in favour of the indemnity, that would also have been paid for by the taxpayers. The indemnity which they are seeking, would have allowed Toronto Council Members, to legally go after the public, as well as to have the public pay for their legal expenses while doing so. It should also be mentioned here that nowhere else in Canada, has this kind of indemnity for Council Members, been honored. Of the sixty eight municipalities across Canada, none has concurred in regards to this indemnity, that was proposed by Toronto City Council Members, who has sought to have total immunity from public opinion and to have the public pay for their legal expenses, in those so called defamation lawsuits. Those members who wanted the public to foot the bill, while taking legal actions against them for exercising, their right to speak openly about their government, or about any elected public official, that they have placed in office, has included those Council Members, that I also strongly believed has something to hide. Not only is this proposal ridiculous when it is taken at face value, but it is also unconstitutional and fortunately, it was vetoed by other Members at the Toronto City Council, who most likely saw, that what their fellow Council Members were really seeking, was actually more power. And by that I also mean more ways in which to go about their actions freely and also secretly, some of which are also detrimental to the public, and without any accountability on their part. They wanted a law that would cover any criminality on their part, as if the current laws were not sufficient, for providing them with the supposed protection, that they claimed that they needed from the public. Since all are considered equal under the law, I think that those politicians wanted more. They wanted it seemed to be exempted from it altogether. It would definitely be a precedent, that would have been set, had their proposal gone through. But no one is really serious that it would have gone through anyway, because it lacked substance and was stupid in the first place. The proposed indemnity from the public, would have also been unfounded, since it is for all practical purposes, not based on any legitimate claims, but only on the assumptions of those politicians, who are offended and perhaps afraid of the public exercising their right to freedom of speech, or of exposing their actions. Laws already exist that gives them as much protection as they also needed, like other members of the public and seeking to have more immunity, is totally unfounded and ridiculous. Their reasons for such an indemnity are superfluous and are not based on anything that any sensible person could accept. It is only based on what those politicians perceived as grievances, that they believed are being committed against them by the public. Those grievances are about reporting on their actions that may also go against public interest. They prefer if they are left to their own ways when carrying out the role of government and the public must not interfere with their actions even if those action are wrong and are also detrimental to the public. Freedom of speech is not only guaranteed, but also protected under the law. The United Nations Charter on Human Rights, which all truly democratic governments must also respect, has explicitly given the right of the people, to speak openly about their government, without fear of retaliation on its part. Those who has ignored this right, are those governments, which has acted corruptly. I have been saying all along that this government is corrupted and does the public need any more proof than this.
Posted by Valerie Guillaume