I’m in a good mood this morning so I’ve put my coffee cup down, picked up the ol’ keyboard, and am ready to take aim and fire from the hip.
I attended Port Hardy council on Tuesday evening like I always do, and once again, Port Hardy Mayor Hank Bood tried to shut the meeting down without asking if any of the residents who were in the gallery had questions for him or his councillors.
I promptly raised my hand as I did indeed have a question, and Bood reluctantly allowed me to speak, making a quick joke by asking if my question would be “hard”.
Keep in mind I’m paid to ask questions. It’s my job to ask about tough issues and things that might be uncomfortable for mayor and council to answer.
With that said, I ripped the proverbial bandaid off and asked if anyone from the district would be attending the James Reginald Hayward Memorial Bench ceremony on July 8.
I don’t think I need to spell out what the district’s answer was, let’s just say it was an uncomfortable moment between mayor and council and the Gazette.
I informed James’ aunt, Nora Hayward, that mayor and council were noncommittal towards attending the ceremony and she was way more polite about it than I would have ever been.
Going back to Q&A’s, I’m actually kind of taken aback by mayor Bood’s hesitancy when it comes to freedom of the press and asking the residents who show up to council meetings if they have any questions.
What’s there to be afraid of? You work in the public sector, Hank. You should be more than willing to take questions at the end of a meeting from residents and journalists who take time out of their day to show up to your meetings to find out what the district is up to.
I’ve had some really tough questions for Port McNeill Mayor Shirley Ackland over the almost three years I’ve worked at the Gazette, and she has never once tried to end a meeting before the residents and media were given the opportunity to speak. Shirley is very polite, open and willing to talk whenever I’ve ever needed clarification on something.
Same goes for Port Alice Mayor Jan Allen and RDMW Chair Andrew Hory. Both have always been more than willing to answer questions anytime the Gazette has requested them to do so.
To be fair, whenever I have called mayor Bood and asked for a quote he has always been gracious enough to speak with me, but for whatever reason, he immediately wants to shut down his council meetings before anyone can ask questions.
Maybe Port Hardy council should pass a bylaw prohibiting Q&A’s at the end of council meetings? That way they can just use the old tried and true excuse of “well, it’s in the bylaw”.
Or maybe instead of hiding behind legislation, they can be understanding and listen to the residents who elected them.
It’s an election year. We want a mayor and council who will stand up and stand out by working with us, not against us.