(File photo)

(File photo)

Parksville councillors don’t want their ability to speak on issues limited

Motion designed to speed up lengthy meetings defeated

Parksville council members want to be able to keep talking.

A motion from Coun. Al Greir, to limit council members to speak a maximum of twice on a particular issue, was defeated at Monday’s regular meeting.

“The reason I bring this forward is pretty obvious,” said Grier. “Some of our meetings are just too long. They run for four hours. Although councillors may have time to spare, we must think of staff. We’re also holding up staff as well. It’s pretty obvious that four-hour meetings are too long.”

But the majority of council felt the motion to limit the discussion infringes on the democratic right of a councillor to speak and it was voted down.

“Open debate is important at the table and sometimes it might take a couple more tries at it,” said Coun. Doug O’Brien. “I disagree with your notice of motion, Coun. Grier.”

READ MORE: Parksville councillor introduces motion to limit how often members can speak on a subject

O’Brien quoted former U.S. president Barack Obama, who once said that “laudable efforts to restrict speech can become a tool to silence critics or oppress minorities.”

He went on to say that “to restrict a person at the table from speaking more than once or twice or whatever is to limit the debate. And that’s what we’re here for.”

Coun. Marilyn Wilson indicated she doesn’t think that the motion is necessary as council has always made credible decision after a long debate.

“I feel the chair can control the discussion if need be and there are so many occasions where we have all gone over the limit of that,” said Wilson.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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