The Dubious Joys of Making a Public Deputation

TTC Board meetings (not to mention meetings of various Committees of Toronto Council) often entail a series of presentations by members of the public. In Toronto parlance, these are “deputations”. Some of these are entertaining, some are heartbreaking, and some are, let’s face it, an ongoing soapbox for a few regulars who can be counted on to show up at every meeting. I used to fall into that category, at least until I got my own much larger soapbox with this site.

It is no secret that some members of boards and committees regard this as a huge waste of time. It is common to see many of them wander out of the room, hold press scrums, consult their email, and generally ignore what the poor, ignorant public might have to say. Moves to restrict speaking time, normally five minutes, to three, or to limit a speaker to one presentation regardless of the number of items they might wish to address, are not unusual.

They are also wrong, very wrong.

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