Lack of “decorum” by Pickering Councillor’s supporters leads to ban on out-of-town delegates


Published April 30, 2024 at 3:30 pm

The chaotic tenure of Councillor Lisa Robinson and the “frequent and repeated lapses of decorum by delegations” speaking on her behalf resulted in a nearly unprecedented bylaw passed last week restricting public delegations to residents and business owners in the city.

Where Robinson goes in Pickering’s hallowed halls, chaos usually follows and the motion brought forward by Councillor David Pickles was brought forward to “protect residents so that they could attend meetings without fear of intimidation, and the ability of Council to move forward with the business of the City.”

“She continues to bring chaos and fan the flames,” Councillor Maurice Brenner said last month when he brought in his own motion for a public inquiry into Robinson’s conduct – the Ward 1 Councillor has been reprimanded and suspended numerous times for comments regarding trans and LGBQ rights – and to ask for the Municipal Act to be changed to allow her to be removed from office.

Pickering Councillor Lisa Robinson

Nevertheless, Brenner said he had “mixed feelings” about the bylaw approved April 22 and there was some discussion before the vote about how not allowing non-residents to delegate “undermined the democratic process.” Still, Brenner believed he had little choice but to support it.

“It was to bring some order to Council,” Brenner explained, while declaring it was not something he would normally get behind. “We’ve had some problems and we need to get back to the business of running the municipality.”

“Perhaps we can re-visit this once we stabilize.”

Organizations asked to attend Council to discuss local issues will be excepted, as will out-of-town delegates who receive prior consent.

Chaos was the word of the evening last month one person was arrested for trespassing and one of Robinson’s out-of-town supporters, after being ruled out of order by Mayor Kevin Ashe, refused to leave the podium, forcing a recess and bringing the arrival of police.

Robinson’s supporters attended that meeting to voice their displeasure with Brenner’s motion and to show their support for Robinson’s op-ed comments in an Oshawa newspaper that have been described as “racist, homophobic, transphobic, and threatening.”

Robinson has already been suspended without pay for 30- and 60-day periods to date but there are no provisions in the Municipal Act for the removal of a member.

One of the other reasons for the Pickle’s motion to ban out-of-town delegates was to speed up the Council process so each meeting’s agenda can be completed and the business of government can go on. Several items on the chaotic meeting from last month’s agenda had to be delayed to future meetings because of the disruption.

“The business of our municipality is being derailed because of the actions of Lisa Robinson,” Brenner said at the time. “We want it to end so we can back to the business of the City.”

“Residents are frustrated,” he added. “They’ve had enough.”

Robinson responded on Twitter the next day and vowed to “never step down.”

“It’s unfortunate that when people can’t handle the truth, they resort to bullying tactics such as continuous name calling and/or silencing your voice until they break you and you give up. Well, as I said tonight at the council meeting, “I will never step down.”

She doubled down last week in her regular council update to her constituents, questioning the ‘integrity’ of the Integrity Commissioner’s annual report on councillors’ code of conduct and other initiatives with ‘air quotes’ and declaring that Mayor Ashe “was going to have me on a leash, like a dog.”

As to the motion, approved by a 5-1 vote, Robinson said it marked the onset of a “new era of censorship – silencing the voices of the people.”

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