Parksville councillors will not be limited in how many times they can speak on a certain subject during meetings.
Coun. Al Greir’s motion to amend council’s procedure bylaw to require councillors to speak a maximum of two times on a particular subject, unless the member is raising new information, was defeated during the Nov. 15 regular meeting.
“If you study your agenda well enough and have your information in place, I don’t think it should take any more than twice to stand up. You’ve got 15 minutes, that’s a long time,” Greir said. “Some of our meetings are just too long, they run four hours, although councillors might have time to spare, we must think of staff. We’re also holding up staff as well when we have such long council meetings.”
Coun. Marilyn Wilson said she could not think of many instances where council held a four-hour long meeting.
“I absolutely am against this motion, I don’t think it’s necessary and I also feel the chair can control the discussion, if need be,” she said.
Coun. Adam Fras pointed out city staff are already busy and suggested it would be better to have the next council, after the 2022 civic election, look at a number of possible changes to the procedure bylaw. His motion to defer the issue until a later time was defeated.
“There’s a very good reason why open debate is important at the table and sometimes it might take a couple more tries at it,” said Coun. Doug O’Brien. “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.”
Mayor Ed Mayne said he does not believe the motion would limit speech, but would only limit councillors making the same point over and over.
“It says very clearly if you have some new information, then you can speak a third time,” said Mayne.
Greir’s motion was defeated with Coun. Mark Chandler, Fras, O’Brien Coun. Teresa Patterson and Wilson opposed.