Direct Election of the Regional Chair- Durham

The Region of Durham is holding a public meeting tomorrow morning at 10 am,  I am taking the day off work to attend.

This is in regards to the issue of Direct Election of the Regional Chair position. 

I have a confession to make.  In 2006 when only Ajax, Oshawa and Pickering had the question on the ballot, I voted No.   Let me explain.  I thought at least the Chair should come from elected Councillors though. 

I was under the impression the Regional Chair was a figurehead and only chaired meetings and was like the Speaker of the house per say, I know it sounds silly but really what do other people know about his role, the average citizen , of which I was in 2006 before opening this blog.   I did not think he had a tie breaking vote though like the elected Speaker in Ottawa.
I was not as politically aware in either Ajax or Durham politics.   I don’t vote yes for something I don’t understand. 

Then…. I learned the Regional Chair moves motions and has a lot more power then I knew so in 2010 I did vote Yes. 

Over 200K in salary, moves motions, sits on every Committee, should be elected by me.

Others say- “Why not appoint from sitting Mayors or Council?” 
** I don’t get to vote for anyone but a single Ward and Regional Councillor plus my own Mayor. 
**Local candidates run local elections in scope.

Urge your Council to support this Democratic method of Selection of the Regional Chair.

 I will endorse the site :    It’s my job as a citizen do this advocacy.

If you can’t make it to the meeting tomorrow, let your views be known to Councillors, your own and WHITBY’S !!!!!!!!!!!!!  

2 Responses to “Direct Election of the Regional Chair- Durham”

  1. Kerry Meydam Says:

    Our Regional Chair does sit on all 4 standing committees (Finance & Admin, Works, Planning, Health & Social Services), does make motions and does vote at all committees (all councillors are limited to one committee to make motions and have a vote). Resolutions by committees are usually ratified at Regional Council once every 3 weeks. Committees have a lot of influence at Council. Some things never get to Council as they are stopped at Committee level (received for information and go no further).

    I think the main issue is whether the Regional Chair should be accountable to only 28 Councillors, or to the voting public of Durham Region. A referendum question was asked in October 2011 on the municipal election ballot, and the voters of all 8 municipalities in Durham Region gave an overwhelming YES to direct election of the Regional Chair.

    The Province approved it and the proposed by-law now has to be approved by Regional Council and then it goes to all 8 local councils for approval (and must be approved by at least 5 of the 8 regional municipalities which encompasses over 1/2 the population of Durham Region.

    I think the main question to ask now, since the referendum result was so overwhelmingly in favour of changing to direct election, is “why would councillors ignore the voice of the people who elected them to office”? The result is known to all:

    Referendum Result from Oct. 2010 Ballot:
    Scugog - 66.45%
    Uxbridge - 6883%
    Brock - 72.87%
    Oshawa - 78.36%
    Whitby - 81.37%
    Clarington - 82.48%
    Pickering - 83.38%
    Ajax - 85.31%

    *Lowest approval in Scugog, still 2/3 of voters approved of direct election.
    *Highest in Ajax at 85.31%.
    *On October 25, 2010, 79.7% of Durham Voters in Referendum voted YES to Direct Election of the Regional Chair.

    I am one of the 95,377 voters in Durham Region who voted for Democracy and Accountability from our Region. It works well in other Regions (Waterloo, Halton), change has been discussed in York Region.

    I believe the vote should be unanimous tomorrow at the Region, if councillors believe in democracy. If they do, they can’t very well ignore the voice of the people, can they?

    Admin: You are right, even though the question was not binding it is still a mandate by those that care. Thanks for the extra information.

  2. Louis Bertrand Says:

    I think any councillors voting against the will of the people will have to tie themselves up in knots of pretzel logic and give themselves a mental sprain. It’s pretty clear everything is lined up for direct election: majority of voters region-wide, majority of voters in all eight municipalities, the right to vote in your representatives.

    One thing to add is that the regional chair represents all of Durham to external bodies - other levels of government, business, associations of municipalities etc.

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