Time to move on and work together
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The Aug. 13 Town of St. Paul council meeting seemed, on the outset, to be a quiet one until the issue came up of the MP requesting one-on-one meetings with each of the councillors.
Town councillors voiced their opinions that they didn’t feel it was right to meet individually, without a clear agenda or purpose to the meeting, and that they dealt with things together as a council. This was a fair perspective, and they are certainly entitled to their point of view. But more reservations came up in the meeting, including the fact that MP Brian Storseth’s office had requested numerous town documents. The impression that ultimately came across was that people within council alternatively felt that the MP was against the town or was looking for a way to undermine the town by collecting this information.
In an interview, Storseth explained he was simply gathering information for a capital plan for the area, and noted he had requested and would be requesting similar information from other municipalities in the area. This point seems like it should have been straightforward enough for the town to resolve with a call to Storseth or his office.
As for one-on-one meetings, while it might seem like a strange request to some, there should be nothing to lose by it. After all, individual meetings happen all the time as politicians of various levels of government are bound to run into each other at local events, open houses or town halls. Unlike a political party, councillors are their own individual people and should have their own individual voices – they do not, by any means, need to speak as one, and in fact, their differing voices and opinions are integral to debate, hopefully leading to the best course of action and the success of the municipality.
Setting aside time to meet one on one with the MP shouldn’t automatically be viewed with suspicion, as it may in fact help with relationship building and the ability of councillors to work in partnership with other levels of government.
In this and in other forms of tension there seems to lie the fact that some fractures remain on the political landscape, fallout from a hard-fought and sometimes bitter provincial election battle between the Wildrose and PC party, with Storseth campaigning alongside Wildrose candidate Shayne Saskiw. Regardless, the time has come to move on from that election, and for people to put aside their political differences and work together for the good of the people they represent.
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