Efforts to have all votes recorded fails

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

Efforts by a Town of High Prairie councillor to have better transparency and accountability were shunned by council at its Feb. 22 meeting.
Councillor James Waikle proposed having all votes recorded during meetings and included in minutes, but it not take long four most of council to disagree.
“Complete transparency,” said Waikle in speaking to his proposal.
“I think people should know how we’re voting and they [council] should be accountable.”
Waikle’s motion was defeated with the only support coming from Councillor Donna Deynaka.
Mayor Brian Panasiuk, and councillors John Dunn, Sacha Martens, Judy Stenhouse and Therese Yacyshyn opposed.
“So, let’s debate it,” said Stenhouse. “I’m not for this. I don’t see the point behind it. At the end, we all come together as a council.
“Our meetings are recorded,” she added.
And, she concluded, meetings are open for anyone to attend.
Dunn agreed, saying residents could watch the video, which is posted on the Town’s website, and that recording votes in minutes would only duplicate a service already provided.
“In my mind, that is recording,” he added.
Martens said she understood Waikle’s intent, but disagreed.
“I am thinking of the recordings. I am thinking of administration’s time.”
Yacyshyn agreed.
“I, too, look at it the same way. There is a recording.”
She added it was extra work for administration and, “I don’t know if it’s necessary.”
Deynaka sided with Waikle.
“It’s one more way to be transparent. I’m not immune to having the votes recorded,” she said.
Panasiuk did not like the extra time it would take administration.
“Every time you have to list them all out,” he said.
“I don’t know if the extra paperwork is worth it.”
Current practice for recorded votes is the inclusion of a chart with names checked off in favour and against. No one proposed changing the format from a list of who voted in favour or against, to a simple “carried unanimously” statement, which differs little from “carried” except for the addition of one word. Votes could also be recorded in sentence statements instead of charts.
Waikle admitted defeat.
“You thoroughly thrashed me,” he said.
“We have to be held accountable for what we do and say,” he persisted.
“Are you trying to avoid confrontation from constituents?” asked Stenhouse.
“I just believe in transparency,” replied Waikle.
In an ironic twist of fate, Waikle did not ask for a recorded vote on his motion.

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