City council changes its mind over last week's decision
By Dave Yasvinski
A controversial proposal London City Council passed a week ago was rescinded at a special council meeting last night.
The proposal, which could have subjected any ceremonial activity of city council and the mayor's office to review by the London Race Relations Advisory Committee, was scrapped in favour of a reworded proposal which removes this responsibility from LRRAC.
"I am very pleased with what happened council spoke with a unanimous voice. I am very grateful to everyone who played a part in making sure we were able to dissolve this," said Dianne Haskett, mayor of London.
Under the new proposal, LRRAC would be responsible for aiding those who wish to file any discriminatory complaints. "They will help individuals find the right place to register a complaint," said Joe Swan, councillor for Ward 2 and LRRAC council liaison.
Swan said he met with the committee last week to replace the original motion, because LRRAC never even wanted the job of reviewing the ceremonial acts of council and the mayor's office. "The committee is not an investigative unit, they deal with complaints," he said.
The reworded proposal also requires LRRAC to continue its efforts to implement council's race relation policy, which was adopted late last year.
Haskett said although it was redundant to restate something LRRAC is already doing, it was important. "Some councillors felt this was unnecessary this implementation is already underway [but] I feel this wording brings peace to the process. It allows the opportunity for council to come together in consensus," she said.
Megan Walker, the councillor who brought forward the rescinded motion, said it was a shame Haskett had to take the proposal personally.
"I wish it hadn't been personalized. [The new proposal] has the same intention we proposed last week. People lost the ability to communicate," she said.
Harold Usher, chair of LRRAC, said the committee agreed with the reworded proposal because it will prevent them from serving as referees. "We would have been doing work we wouldn't have been comfortable doing," he said.
This entire affair will not be easy for many people to get over, Walker added. "This will be really difficult for some members of council to put behind them. There has been so much hatred and hostility directed at certain members of council things spun completely out of control."