April 20, 2017 7:48 am

Commentary: Was marathon LRT meeting just a political sideshow ?

Hamilton city councillors are wasting time and money with a phone survey on LRT support, says Bill Kelly.

City of Hamilton
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With over 50 public delegations making presentations, we all knew that yesterday’s city council meeting about the LRT would be a marathon session, and it was.

But what made an excruciatingly long session even more daunting was how city councillors hijacked the meeting to heap praise on presenters who shared their views or, to cross-examine those delegations who presented differing opinions.

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READ MORE: Nine hours of delegations reflect divisions in community over LRT

This was supposed to be an opportunity for those citizens who don’t normally have a platform, to articulate their views in a public forum.

But time and time again, councillors questioned the presenters, as if they were trying to challenge the presenters’ opinions, and then, wasted more time by debating among themselves.

READ MORE: Mayor critical of ‘skewed’ Hamilton LRT poll results

Council’s job yesterday was to shut up and listen, but their political egos overshadowed what could have been a constructive community engagement process.

But the most frustrating aspect of yesterday’s political sideshow is that it was most likely a total waste of time.

It was quite apparent that the majority of city councillors won’t support the LRT project and nothing that was said at yesterday’s session changed anyone’s mind.

The reality is, Hamilton’s LRT  plans are on life support, and barring an unlikely last-minute intervention, all that’s left to do is for those short-sighted city councillors to pull the plug and say goodbye to a billion-dollar investment.

And they call that leadership?

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