Metrolinx Meets Mostly In Private (November 2009 Edition)

The November Metrolinx Board meeting takes place Monday the 16th starting at 1 pm.  As usual, the agenda has a small public session including remarks by Transportation Minister Bradley and reports from Rob Prichard, the CEO, Gary McNeil, the Managing Director, and a progress report on the “Big 5” projects.  These are the Eglinton, Finch, Sheppard and SRT projects in Toronto, as well as the Viva Next project in York Region.

The board then goes into private session where it will discuss the same things all over again, presumably with the interesting, important bits included.  There will also be updates on Presto (the smart card project), the Investment Strategy (how we will pay for everything), and various standing committees including the Customer Service Committee, so appropriate an issue for a private session.

4 thoughts on “Metrolinx Meets Mostly In Private (November 2009 Edition)

  1. Refresh my mind, please. Metrolinx is beholden, ultimately, to whom? Because if it’s the public, why are their meetings so often held in camera? Where is the transparency and accountability in that?

    Steve: Metrolinx is a Provincial Agency, formally part of the Ministry of Transportation.


  2. They should meet in public unless there the discussion is definitely sensitive (lawsuits and staff disciplinary issues are the only ones I can think of).

    Steve: Indeed, municipal councils operate under strict rules that prohibit private discussion except of certain privileged matters such as legal, real-estate and labour relations issues. Queen’s Park sets one batch of rules for the cities, but plays by completely different rules at its own agencies.


  3. Yes, it’s a double-standard, but not a double-standard without at least an iota of basis in logic.

    Municipal councils, the TTC board, school boards and the board of Metrolinx 1.0 are composed of elected officials, accountable to the electorate. As such, public transparency is an inherent condition of permitting said accountability.

    The board of Metrolinx 2.0, along with all manner of provincial QuANGOs like the OLGC board or the Ontario Securities Commission, aren’t composed of elected officials, but rather serve at the pleasure of the minister responsible. As such, what matters (as least in theory of governance terms) is that the minister be able to know what’s going on in those in-camera meetings.

    Whether or not regional transportation planning should be carried out in the open is a reasonable debate to have, but to imply there’s no rhyme nor reason that rationalizes how Metrolinx 2.0 gets magical closed-door powers is wrong.

    Steve: I’m not questioning the rationale which, as you explain, fits in with the general arrangement for crown agencies. However, given both the history of Metrolinx 1 (and of GO Transit as well), as well as Metrolinx being so big on public participation through its early days, the change is troubling. Too much is secrecy for its own sake, and public policy is better served with open discussions.

    Oddly enough, today there was more info in the press scrum after the public meeting than in the meeting itself.


  4. Maybe because they need to have their grand all expenses paid dinner in private.

    Why do we have such committees without actual users who are really affected and think about it because it affects them in terms of money and time (one extra ticket really affects them)… not those rich users living in big houses who use TTC to avoid traffic congestion only.


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