Was the goof deliberate or was James Smith just having a bad day? Has a council career ended before it started?

By Pepper Parr

February 21, 2014


James Smith, the man who led the Friends of Freeman Station to where it is today and a leader in the transit advocacy community and one of the better delegators in the city did a no,no,no at the  Thursday Standing Committee reviewing the current portion of the city budget.

Smith was one of five people delegating on two late arrival staff reports that impact the budget and was delegating on the transit report, which wasn’t all that bad a document.

The late Les Armstrong, one of the strongest advocates for the Freeman Station revitalization chats with James Smith on the right.

Smith took to the lectern and didn’t start with his usual polite “how ya doin” introduction but said he was going to depart from his prepared remarks and speak extemporaneously and then asked if the people who wrote the transit report were on crack cocaine?

Some in the council chamber wondered if Smith thought he was delegating at Toronto city council.  He continued in the same vein until committee chair Meed Ward stopped him in his tracks, read him a portion of the riot act and Smith retracted the remarks.

None of his Bfast (Burlington For Accessible Sustainable Transit) colleagues could understand why Smith behaved as he did. “He wasn’t speaking for us” explained Bfast chair Doug Brown.

Any plans Smith had for a run against Councillor Paul Sharman in ward 5 now need a serious re-consideration.

The lingering question over the exceptionally poor behaviour is – why?

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5 comments to Was the goof deliberate or was James Smith just having a bad day? Has a council career ended before it started?

  • James Smith

    Late reports from staff full of newspeak are no excuse. Last week I let my Irish temper get the better of me in my delegation on Transit @ Burlie City Council. I owe council an apology, especially the chair Marianne Meed Ward who showed me a courteously and let me speak first as I had a site meeting to attend in Toronto later Thursday Morning.

    To paraphrase Brendan Behan: Other people have a nationality- the Irish have a temper.


  • Karla Morrison

    Again, what is going on with Councillor Meed Ward? Is she losing her patience with justifiably frustrated citizens?

    Is Marianne Meed Ward a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and leather boots?

    • Yvonne

      No Councillor Meed -ward is forward thinking and attentive to people’s needs . There is a proper way to address council and not the way this gentleman was acting Why waste time being verbose and smug when decisions are on the line and may be time sensitive

    • Roger

      Mr. Smith is delegating on 2 LATE – I say again LATE – lets not leave our LATE staff report – there is a proper way to address council however where is the RESPECT of being on time and considering Mr. Smith is not paid and the people reponsible for the LATE REPORTS are paid . Councillor Meed- Ward may be correct but should there not a consideration be made for the LATENESS in the reports.

  • Roger

    Delegating on 2 late staff reports – no comment on why the reports were late – was Mr. Smith give the opportunity to respond on a report that was noted in the 1st sentance as late. Did staff show Mr.Smith the respect of delivering the reports on time and in time – the comment on two late staff reports – how are people to engage when there is clearly a lack of respect for the time that UNPAID residents put forrweard.

    The words may have been incorrect however one wonders if the authors of the report can spell bus as it is apparent due to the content – they have neither seen one or had a ride on 1. Would it be fair to say that the comments were based on simple frustration of report authors has no concept.

    I think Mr. Smith has a future and if he was to run in my ward – I would do my best to see him elected.