Transparency is at the core of any democracy, even more so at the municipal level, being the closest to the citizens.
This page lists the items and events that we consider to demontrate a lack or reduction of the transparency expected from the City of Beaconsfield vis-à-vis its citizens.
Beaconsfield 3 Years Capital Program 2019 and 2020
This program is a very important element in the finances of the City of Beaconsfield. It lists how the City plans to invest $ 53.125 Million in capital over the next 3 years.
Knowing that the annual budget of the City is approximately 21 Millions, this investment program represents more than 2.5 times the annual revenues of the City of Beaconsfield.
53 Millions $ explained in 5 lines
On the December 19, 2018 public Council, and again on the December 16 2019 public Council Meeting we were provided with this "Three-year Capital Program 2019-2020-2021" (TCP) and 2020-2021-2022 in a very short version (in 5 lines).
We asked the mayor, then the City for a more detailled document, similar to the one used and tabled the previous year and for at least 10 years before.
On March 1, 2019, the City gave us an unfavorable response based on four arguments :
"The requested document constitutes a working document and it can not be communicated by the City given that personal notes, sketches, drafts, drafts or preparatory notes of the same nature, which are not accessible in under section 9 of the Act; "
"In addition, section 22 applies because the requested document contains financial or commercial information belonging to the City of Beaconsfield and the disclosure of which would be prejudicial to it; "
"Article 37 is alternatively invoked because the document requested constitutes an opinion or recommendation made less than 10 years ago; "
"Finally, we consider that the requested document was not deposited in the City's archives and can not be disclosed in light of the restriction of access provided for in section 34 of the Act."
Commision d'accès à l'Information
We rejected all of those unfounded arguments in a letter we sent to the "Commission d'accès à l'information" on March 27, 2019.
In addition, we mentionned that this violated a "Guide to decision-making in urban planning - Capital Expenditure Program" published by the Municipal Affairs and Housing of Quebec.
This specifies the format that corresponds to the format used by the City of Beaconsfield every year for at least ten years until the 2018 TCP:
Enabling powers in this area are found in the Quebec Municipal Code and the Cities and Towns Act.
The council of a local municipality must, on or before December 31 of each year, adopt the capital program of the municipality for the next three fiscal years. Commonly known as the Three-Year Capital Works Program (TCP), this program must be divided into annual phases and detail, for the period coincident with it, the purpose, amount and method of financing for the capital expenditures planned to be made by the municipality and whose financing period exceeds 12 months. "(Our underlined)
Easy access to other cities VERY DETAILLED TCP
Compared to the Beaconsfield 5 line CPI the following cities show their detailed current CPI’s on their websites:
• Pointe Claire (15 pages)
• Baie d'Urfé (2 pages)
• Sainte-Anne de Bellevue (6 pages)
• Laval (100 pages including budget)
• Longueuil (25 pages)
• Montreal (Excel file over more than 100 pages)
All of them are detailled, some show up multiple pages of specific details.
See (left) the page 2 of the 2019 TCP of Pointe Claire, a 15 pages document !
The city of Beaconsfield would not provide more than 5 lines on a single page !
IS THIS WHAT THE CITY OF BEACONSFIELD CALLS TRANSPARENCY ?
More than ten months after delivering our letter to the "Commission d'accès à l'information" we are still without any answer from them. And the city does it again !