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COMMENTARY · 11th August 2010
Walter McFarlane
Dark Clouds on a Bright Summer's Day: Part 8

Mayor Joanne Monaghan’s letter from Sandhills had to have been the strangest item to be added to the agenda on Tuesday August 3rd. Obviously it came in at a very convenient time for her. In fact, the timing was so perfect, the question the public should be asking is: “are these Council Meetings being staged for ratings?”

After all, Monaghan has been the top focus of Council for some time. Back when she spoke to the Northern Development Initiative slides prepared for her earlier in the year and actually spoke against the will of Council… she then misled Council regarding the issue on the third of August. How about when she went on the radio and insulted the people of Kitimat by telling the world we were rich enough to afford the 20% tax increase with our cars, boats, ATVs, gold toilets, etc… and then denied it during another Council Meeting. Or maybe how when Council told her they wished to remain neutral on the Enbridge project and she went and appeared with a positive message in the proponent’s propaganda… I mean… literature. Council was obviously unable to get their concerns through to her as she appeared in several other interviews explaining Council’s neutrality was her message all along.

This letter from Sandhills was as much an attack on the Kitimat Council as Councillor Gottschling’s statement was an attack on her, the subject of the letter being confidentiality, a topic which has yet to come up in those chambers. After all, several Councillors have expressed disdain over her constant public Mayoral approval of the Enbridge project making Kitimat Council look like they have given the project their blessing when they wish to remain neutral.

First and foremost, by reading this letter, Monaghan makes the majority of them, Goffinet, Gottschling, Corless and Halyk look ‘incompetent’ because they are the ones questioning her appearances in the media. After touching on her “Ethical conduct coming under scrutiny,” the letter veers right off the topic and praises the Mayor on confidentiality.

This raises the second concern. Why go for confidentiality. It is simple. This is an attack on a Councillor who released letters to the media, which appeared to have been forwarded to him by Dolores Pollard, the Chief Councllor of the Haisla Kitamaat Village. Shortly after the content of these letters appeared on the Kitimat Daily, someone who would be in the loop accidentally revealed Kitimat City Council had been aware of these letters for some time.

While the latter revelation might have caused some of the outrage in Council, the fact the Mayor signed and/or made a verbal confidentiality agreement behind Council’s back; the fact this agreement is legally binding, is appearing to be the catalyst as it shows she has a lack of faith in her Council.

“Some of these things would not have happened if I had discussed this with you,” Monaghan boldly told her Council. This outraged many of her Councillors and some just sat in shock. One spoke about the oath they took and referred to Councils private closed door meetings called ‘In Camera’.

What… Does Council get cake if Monaghan keeps her lips sealed on all this? What are these things which are coming here? If they are secret and the public does not know about all the details, are we going to wake up and find our way of life changed?

On this same thread, after the meeting, an insightful man who would most likely wish to remain anonymous asked: Why is Monaghan taking the credit for all of these projects? They would be coming here whether she was Mayor or not.

Then there is the double standard. This is not the first time Monaghan has blindsided Council with a letter, which she received, conveniently, at the last minute when all others are denied such last minute presentations.

Finally, if Monaghan did make a legally binding confidentiality agreement with this group, is it at all possible that she violated this agreement by reading the letter out loud at City Council? And further what was the point? Was it to create more controversy or was it an attempt by her to prove to the people of Kitimat that outsiders think she is doing a good job and respect her so they should too.

The storm of events which took up the last half of the City Council meeting was now over. But the problem with this storm overshadows something which took place prior.
Booted Clinton?
Comment by Darcy Metz on 14th August 2010
Who booted Clinton? Which Clinton and when?

Hilary Clinton is still secratary of state and Bill Clinton served the maximum 2 terms as president.
Gong Show
Comment by Brenda Mitchell on 12th August 2010
The only ones that make our Council look like a gong show is Councillor Halyk and Gottschling.Councillor Halk needs a reality check and Councillor Gottschling needs to get over the results of the last election.He should remember how many votes he got(or didn't get) and let our Mayor and council do their job.
They booted Clinton, why not Monaghan!
Comment by Jessy Damaso on 12th August 2010
Is there no way the people of Kitimat or the members of council can vote or petition to get rid of Mayor Monaghan? She clearly has no control and doesn't understand what her role as mayor is. It's starting to sound and look like there are some backroom agendas going on with persons outside of council and she is part of it. Is the plan to make council look like a gong show thus adverting the public eye from the real issues? I think so!
Comment by Mike Forward on 11th August 2010
Since Councilor Gottschling and Mayor Monaghan seem so content to act like children, why not put them in a timeout so that the rest of Council can try and get some work done?

Between Gottschling starting a fight with anyone in arm's reach(Was McLaren not available?) and Monaghan attempting to justify her frequent, public bufoonery with letters patting herself on the back, it's a wonder anything ever gets done in this town.

Message to both of them: sit down, be quiet and let the adults do some talking every once in a while.