Barry Dalrymple's frightening statements | News | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Barry Dalrymple's frightening statements

Halifax councillor cavalierly dismisses citizens' rights and concerns

This morning CBC is reporting that councillor Barry Dalrymple, who is a former RCMP cop, wants to wire up each and every councillor to a lie detector machine in order to discover who's been leaking stuff to the media. Coming from an elected representative, such a suggested expansion of the police state is alarming. But even more alarming is the last sentence of the ceeb report:
Dalrymple acknowledges that no one can be forced to take a polygraph test, but after his years of policing he said he has yet to see an innocent person refuse.
Hear that? By Dalrymple's way of thinking, refusing to take a lie detector test means you are guilty. Some have suggested to me this is simply a reflection of a cops' perspective, but I really hope to the flying spaghetti monster that the average cop out there doesn't assume that citizens simply standing up for their own rights turns them into criminals, no evidence needed.

Still and all, this wasn't the only noteworthy statement from Dalrymple this week.

Tuesday, while Halifax council debated making the council smaller, several councillors argued that they are already overwhelmed with responding to constituency requests for help, and making council smaller would limit the ability to fully meet those needs. Dalrymple responded with the following:

I think that going to 16 [councillors] would allow for some conversation to take place that possibly we could end up having offices in each district and a staff support person in each district. I wouldn’t want to go too much further on that right today, but I certainly see the possibility of that occurring and, quite frankly, we absolutely should be at that position where every district has an office and a staff support person, and I think that would give tremendous more ability to our residents to contact councillors. I also just wanted to touch on---and listen, I’m not saying I’m correct; I know that there are councillors here that love to take every phone call every day about getting the grass mowed or getting the snowplow a little bit quicker and that kind of thing. But maybe because I’m relatively new to this, I don’t feel that way. I really don’t. We have call centres that we spend a lot of money on to answer those calls, and I don’t feel that as a councillor I need to answer those phone calls every minute of every day. Like councillor Harvey said, I believe this should be more about policy making and that you answer those calls and do that kind of stuff, you can’t. We have organizations that handle emergency calls. We have departments and staff who handle the other calls, and they do it very, very well, so I do support the going to 16 for many, many reasons.
Got that? There's no need for councillors to respond to their constituents' requests for help, but they each need an in-district office, complete with staff person, so they sit around and think abstractly about policy issues.

Municipal council is the level of government closest to the citizenry. With our relatively small districts, it's still possible for councillors to meet most of the people in the district, and to know the concerns and problems the district quite well.

Because of this, councillors act as a liaison between the people and their government. It makes no sense for each and every citizen to learn the inner workings of City Hall, or even to know which layer of government does what. But instead, they can call on their councillor, who knows how City Hall works, who knows that this issue is a federal concern, that one a provincial, who can steer things through complicated levels of bureaucracy, who knows about the various non-profit agencies that can help for this issue or that. This is the fundamental, day-to-day business of councillors, and an invaluable resource for citizens.

But Dalrymple simply dismisses that resource-- just tell them to call the call centre. Those call centre workers don't know anything beyond the script they've been taught, which covers only a pre-determined list of possibilities within city government, and nothing at all about outside agencies or governments. Those call centre workers may have never even heard of the part of the city the resident is calling from. And certainly those workers' future employment is not dependent upon showing real concern, much less bringing results. But what the hell, slough the pesky residents off to the call centre so Dalrymple can sit around with his staff support person and philosophize about "policy."

Obviously, Dalrymple's notion of "policy" doesn't include better helping residents.

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