Some political ambitions never die, they just simply fade away to be returned and reincarnated using another new dead body. I am referring to the “small circle election” of the York Region Chair. For my earlier (2015) article on this subject, please click here:http://chinesenewsgroup.com/news/620501
Since then, Bill#42 in the Ontario legislation aimed directly at putting this issue to rest and have the Region Chair elected by all voters is running its course through Ontario Parliament. Now, the York Region Chair is advancing a motion at the Council to perpetuate the cycle of internal elections for that position. In addition, the motion further stipulates that the Region Chair can also hold onto his/her current municipal position of Mayor or Regional Councillor. This motion is up for voting by York Region Council members on October 19, 2017.
A quick refresher for our readers - North of Metropolitan Toronto, the Regional Municipality of York was created in 1971. York Region is located between Lake Simcoe and Toronto with a population of over one million represented by nine cities, towns, and township under its control. Many of the residents in York Region are immigrants with the majority coming from Mainland China.
York Region provides collective services to its municipality members and co-ordinates over-all planning for the region. Residents and ratepayers in the York Region pay two level of municipal taxes. One portion of it goes to the York Region and the other to their own city, town, or township. In Markham, 51% of our taxes go to the Region of York.
Many people and organizations are angry with this latest attempt to hang onto this election system of voting by 20 Regional Council members only. Their opinions can be summarized below:
1) It is totally undemocratic. How can 20 York Council members deny the basic democratic rights of 1.2 million people?
2) How can one person do two full-time jobs? There is no mention of salary. Is the intention to earn 2 full-time salaries for what will be 2 part-time jobs? That would be diabolical.
3) Another problem with this scheme is the likelihood of conflict of interest and remaining impartial.
4) The Chair selection process itself is totally flawed. There is no information put out to the public and no effort to increase the number and quality of candidates by advertising the position. There's no discussion of qualifications, experience, integrity, issues etc., instead there's a good deal of backroom wheeling, dealing and bargaining until the mayors and regional councillors are promised the plum positions they desire.
5) The Regional Chair is now responsible for overseeing an annual budget of $3 billion. The Chair has oversight of determining taxes, deciding on spending and incurring debt, yet he or she remains unaccountable. If I think he or she is doing a lousy job, I cannot vote him or her out and vote for someone else. The regional debt is $2.9 billion (2015), expected to rise to $3.7 billion in 2020.
2017年10月2日，万锦市政府总务委员会通过了一项议案，要求区主席应该采用普选选出。该议案投票时市长Frank Scarpitti和区议员李国贤缺席，区议员吉姆•琼斯（Jim Jones）因病不能投票。虽然市议会以10-0票通过议案。但是，此项要求区主席普选的议案需要在10月16日的市议会上再次投票，才能正式通过。
On Oct 2nd , 2017, Markham General Committee passed a motion to confirm their support that the Chair being an elected position. Mayor Frank Scarpitti and Regional Councillor Joe Li were absent while Regional Councillor Jim Jones was away for medical treatments. The Council members voted 10-0 to pass their opposing motion. However, the motion needs to be passed again at Council meeting on Oct 16th to make it official.
It must be noted that last time when a similar opposing motion was passed in Regional Council in 2015, the Mayor and some Regional Councillors did not vote to represent the collective will of the Markham City Council motion at Regional Council. It is expected that this will be repeated this time.
The province will have the last say on this issue if the York Region motion is passed and a request is presented. Bill#42 is about to be made into law and parts of Bill#70 also covers this item. Both of these bills advocate general election by all voters for the York Region Chair position. It is unlikely that the request will be granted.
Let us recognize this motion for what it is - a desperate and self-serving attempt to thwart the will of the people and the directive from the province. This attempt is doomed to failure as it is immoral and running against the democratic principles of an open society.
我们鼓励所有读者在我们的文章和博客上分享意见。We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. Visit the FAQ page for more information.