The Spec: Councillor Sorry for Pushing Journalist
Apologies are great, but unless they come with an acknowledgement and admission of wrongdoing they’re just empty words delivered because they’re expected. By the language used in the attached Spec article, I don’t see an acknowledgement. I see a politician trying to downplay the ugly truth. I trust Joey’s account of the incident, and I would trust the witnesses to back him up, should it have come to that.
I’m glad Joey has accepted Ferguson’s apology, but I can’t.
Joey has made it his singular mission to stream meetings at City Hall for everyone to see, while Ferguson has displayed a pattern of disdain for transparency, as if it gets in the way of his job. As chair of the (now defunct) Accountability and Transparency Subcommittee, he slowed down and watered down any attempt to establish a proper lobbyist registry. He would suggest that the committee fulfilled its mandate, but in the end they have taken years to produce a very weak procedure that will do nothing to clean up the image of City Hall or stop any potential corruption, should it exist.
Joey has been accurately reporting on this sub-committee and streaming its meetings, and I feel Ferguson’s frustration with this coverage came to a head last night when he pushed Joey around.
I don’t accept that this incident was simply the result of fatigue or frustration after a long meeting. I would suggest that Ferguson should seek some anger management training, and perhaps a refresher on workplace bullying.
A free and honest media is a cornerstone of democracy. Members of the media should never feel hesitant to report the truth lest they be harmed physically. If Ferguson doesn’t understand that, then he should not be Chair of the Police Services Board, nor should he be a Hamilton City Councillor.
Full Disclosure: I consider Joey a friend, and I have also volunteered my time to ensure meetings are streamed when he cannot be there. While I am at City Hall on Joey’s behalf I take great care to faithfully record meetings, as he always does. I value his work and his role at City Hall. That said, I wrote this on my own behalf, as member of the public who values transparency, and opposes the apparent culture of bullying and intimidation that persists in some dark corners at City Hall. We deserve better.