Filed under: Opinion |

by Fred Groves

The elephant in the Essex Council Chamber is getting bigger.

Members of our representative group outright despise one of their own.

A modern-day lynching is in the making and the person with the rope hanging precariously around his neck is Councillor Randy Voakes.

The most recent attempt to stifle Voakes and try to curb his self-imposed fury of opposition towards his colleagues is just another act in this municipality’s political circus.

When the Sheriff, a.k.a Integrity Commissioner Robert Swayze, rode into town last week, to lay down his latest round of justice, it was once again a mere slap on the wrist, albeit a little harder than the previous one.

There is no question that Voakes is a rebel. That’s his style and one that must be endured to his constituents because they continue to show their support and overflow the ballot box with a check mark next to his name.

However, the last time his supporters voted was nearly three years ago and a lot has changed. First off, his disruptive and alleged abusive behaviour is drawing council farther and farther away from the everyday task of governing.

Secondly, Voakes has no intention of backing down with accusations of wrong doing by council and without a doubt he is becoming more and more steadfast in his defiance.

Council is well within its rights to impose financial penalties on him, but it’s important to look at both sides of this story.
When a veteran councillor, one who stands at the front of the line to take the first bullet for his town, mounts his soapbox and yells, ‘injustice,’ it’s our duty to listen to him.

Unfortunately, we are not, and instead either chalking it up as another day in the life of a befuddled group or waiting patiently for the October 2018 election to clear the room.

Either or, something has to be done. This tug-of-war push and shove is like a schoolyard disagreement when no one will simply pick up their toys and go home.

As it becomes more evident that Council believes a public tar-and-feathering wouldn’t be enough, now is the time to ask the big, big question.

Is Voakes just a hot-head with a big mouth or is he a lone vigilante who wants justice?

Perhaps it’s time to bring in the big guns.

Now where is that number for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs?

I know I’ve got it here somewhere.