By DIANA HUSON
Niagara Regional Councillor
Over the past two weeks, confidential information from our in-camera meetings at Niagara Regional Council were leaked to the press, and emails from my colleagues expressing frustration over “leaking” have been forwarded and published. I want to address a few things.
1. There is absolutely a need to have some information kept in confidence. These relate to issues that are legal, land or human resource-related. We can’t negotiate contracts, land acquisition or discuss performance issues in public meetings. Doing so would compromise or undermine certain activities we want to pursue. It could also lead to legal action against us that, if successful, would only cost taxpayers.
2. There is a difference between leaking information that is related to business operations and whistleblowing. When dishonest and nefarious scenarios arise that need public attention, such as what happened last term, this information should come forward. This council is in complete agreement on that and we approved developing a policy to protect whistleblowers. That is not what is happening now.
I believe information is now being leaked because someone does not agree with a position on something. It’s our job to question, discuss and explore points of views on an issue, regardless of whether it’s popular.
More importantly, I believe we should be able to disagree on issues without taking it personally or holding ill will towards other members. I think our constituents deserve better than that.
This type of leaking only goes towards undermining our confidence in one another and erodes trust. Furthermore it’s a distraction from the very real and pressing issues facing Niagara. So I hope the nonsense can now stop and we can get back to important conversations about the housing crisis, public health concerns, infrastructure and jobs.
As always, I’m happy to hear your thoughts regardless of whether you share my opinions.