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In my opinion the residents of Owen Sound need to be concerned about proposed amendments to the procedural by-law regarding Public Question Period. They seriously limit the subjects which can be brought forward to Council by a member of the public.

The change would mean that if a subject isn't specifically on the agenda it cannot be brought forward in question period. So for example if someone had a question about climate change initiatives they would have to wait until that particular subject was already on the agenda, and that could be months.

As well, limiting the presentation time to two minutes does not, in my opinion, allow a presenter a reasonable length of time to get their point across. As for limiting the written presentation to 100 words, you will be able to tell from this brief letter of 300 words, that is not enough!

The public have legitimate concerns and questions and the Public Question Period part of the agenda was designed to recognize that and allow a forum to present these questions. There are perimeters set out that have worked for years.

I know that sometimes the questions make the Mayor and Councillors uncomfortable but that is not a reason to restrict them so severely. It is up to the Mayor and council to treat members of the public with the respect they deserve and to listen to their questions and concerns. There is a history of very good questions being asked and worthwhile actions resulting. The person presenting is often nervous and council should make them comfortable and not put them on a stop watch. If a problem should arise, the Mayor and Council have the tools to control any meeting.

They also have the power to firmly reject these proposed changes.

Ruth Lovell Stanners, Owen Sound



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