Comment 30972

By Whoza (anonymous) | Posted May 11, 2009 at 10:56:19

Mr. Smith & Grassroots seem to have diverted this discussion from the performance of Councillor Merulla to a debate on the performance of God. Will Councillor Merulla feel flattered by the comparison?

I'm with Mr. Merulla's definition of the Chamber to a special interst group. Was the Hamilton District Labour Council invited to the conference? How about members of various BIAs throughout the city? Representatives of the unemployed, the poor, the not-for-profit sector? I don't know, but all these are groups with economic intersts.

Ryan points out that Hamilton has a long history of influence resting in the hands of a few powerful business people. My sense is that this process has not saved Hamilton from economic decline. The greatest consequence of last year's conference, so far as I can tell, was to apply the name of "squelchers" to those people who were less than gleeful at every pronouncement of folks likely to be invited to these conferences. But this is a natural consequence of a public that seeks leadership instead of representation.

No problem with the Chamber of Commerce holding such an event, but the assumption that public representatives are obliged to attend and heed their advice because this is THE economic conference of the year, puts the cart before the horse. Nevertheless it is not Councillor Merulla's place to wait for more representative groups to hold economic conferences before he deigns to attend. Special interests will hold conferences to determine and advance their own interests. Nothing wrong with that. City Council should seek out and listen to the voices of many such organizations. To ignore one such group, whether business, labour, the poor or any other stakeholder, merely makes Council captive to other special interests. Do I correctly recall a past post from Mr. Merulla in which he dismissed RTH contributors' concerns with Centre Mall buildings turning their backs to Barton Street?

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