Ah, the power of framing.
At last night's Council meeting, Ward 4 Councillor Sam Merulla executed his notice of motion to make public the city's costs related to its lawsuit against the Federal Government over the Red Hill Valley Parkway. According to the Spectator:
Council supported Merulla, arguing that the city should voluntarily reveal the whole cost of the lawsuit in the interest of openness and transparency.
And so we learned the city has spent $1.3 million so far, since the suit was launched in 2004 with a projected budget of $450,000. As of November 2007, the last update before Council decided to make the legal costs secret, the city had spent a little over $243,000.
Council voted in early 2008 to continue with the lawsuit and also to stop publishing the ongoing legal costs, on the basis of "solicitor-client privilege". They also voted to lift the $450,000 spending limit.
They reconsidered that decision in November 2009, but decided again to carry on the lawsuit and to keep the legal costs secret.
Yet last night, though the faces around the Council table were almost all the same as they were in 2008 and 2009, Council decided that openness and transparency around public money were more important than protecting the privilege of the party receiving that money.
One can't help but wonder if any other matters at hand last night provided Council with a different perspective on the issue.