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Pointe-Claire divisions run deep inside city hall

Click to play video: 'Pointe-Claire council, mayor split over how best to communicate' Pointe-Claire council, mayor split over how best to communicate
WATCH: Some councillors are pitted against the mayor of Pointe-Claire over the control of messages coming from city hall. – May 16, 2022

Pointe-Claire, Que., Mayor Tim Thomas vetoed a resolution to override a resolution passed by council 6-2 that would have created an oversight committee to better control messages emanating from city hall.

The mayor argues he did so because the city already has a communications department and statements published by city hall have already been approved by council.

“Have a look at all our official communications from the beginning of my mandate until now and find anything that is any way offensive or not the exact truth,” Tim Thomas told Global News.

He calls the resolution disappointing and argues it’s a disservice to democracy.

“It was just insulting that they felt it necessary to control the freedom of expression of the current administration to a greater extent than has ever existed in Pointe-Claire history,” Thomas said.

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READ MORE: Pointe-Claire city council votes to freeze Fairview housing development

One of the sponsors of the resolution sees things differently.

City Councillor Brent Cowan argues the committee wouldn’t have had political power but instead be an opportunity for members to have a greater say in the communications coming out of city hall.

“It’s absolutely democratic, otherwise, what, the mayor – one person – gets to decide what is a city statement and there’s no checks and balances on that,” Cowan said.

The councillor, who represents the Oneida district, says the resolution stemmed from a message on March 31 that Cowan contends was highly partisan and it should have been approved by council members before being issued.

Cowan says the message by Thomas shouldn’t have been allowed.

“We feel he can do that with his own means but he can’t do it with public subsidy,” Cowan said.

The resolution will come up for another vote at the next council meeting on June 7.

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