White Rock’s frequent In-Camera Council Meetings illegal according to Legal Expert Raymond Young who announced this at this week’s UBCM Conference.
At this week’s annual meeting of the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), Lawyer Raymond Young, founder of one of B.C.’s best-known firms specializing in municipal law, stated very clearly that “If Mayor and Council are meeting before each council meeting and they’ve got the agenda out two or three days before the council meeting and… they know what the issues will be … all of that is a council meeting, and it is an unlawful meeting,” he said, especially if they decide who will make a motion, second a motion and lead in discussion.
That sounds exactly like what happens in White Rock prior to every public City Council meeting. Mayor Baldwin has consistently held more private in-camera City Council meetings than public ones this year, thus breaking his 2014 election promise of more open and transparent local government.
Are such frequent in-camera meetings illegal? According to Municipal Law Legal Expert Raymond Young who spoke to City Council Members from across BC, including Councillor Helen Fathers who attended the UBMC conference, the answer is YES!
Holding in-camera meetings before each Council Meeting is not legal.
At least that is my interpretation of Raymond Young’s speech. Perhaps I am wrong.
Mayor Baldwin makes a habit of telling citizens that he has a legal opinion that supports his various claims, yet he has never produced a written copy of any such legal opinion, despite many requests from White Rock Citizens to do so. Strange.
Perhaps Mayor Baldwin should listen to Lawyer Raymond Young’s legal opinion and stop holding In-Camera City Council meetings? At least Mr.Young’s legal opinion is both well documented and well respected, and also publicly available for all to see.
I challenge Mayor Baldwin and City Council to seek out a formal legal opinion by Raymond Young on the legality of the regular In-Camera meetings held prior to each Council Meeting. This should include reviewing the secret in-camera minutes to access if the stated reasons for secrecy apply or not, and publicly presenting his legal opinion for all of White Rock to See.
Read the details in the Vancouver Sun article here and decide for yourself.