Mayor Andrea Horwath conferences with her Chief of Staff Kara McLean moments after the Province announced it will not expand Hamilton's urban boundary. Horwath had to remain in the Council Chamber to maintain quorum due to the absence of seven councillors. Credit: Joey Coleman

City Council meetings require nine of sixteen members of Council to reach quorum, a majority, 50% + 1.

[The City of Hamilton disputes the meaning of the word majority; they define equal as being a majority.]

On Monday, Council struggled to maintain quorum as nearly half of Council did not show up at City Hall or log into WebEx for a meeting discussing mounting financial losses at Hamilton Renewable Power.

Councillors Tammy Hwang (Ward 4), Matt Francis (5), and Craig Cassar (12) showed up at City Hall for the 9:30 a.m. council meeting.

Councillors Maureen Wilson (1), Esther Pauls (7), Brad Clark (9), Alex Wilson (13), and Mike Spadafora (14) logged in by video.

Hamilton City Council Chambers at 9:30 a.m. on October 23, 2023. View from the public gallery.

Councillors joining by video left the meeting sporadically, leaving the meeting without legal quorum [again, the City of Hamilton disputes the meaning of majority].

Council quickly lost quorum as some video attendees logged off after roll call.

Mayor Andrea Horwath arrived in the Council Chamber shortly after 9:30 a.m.

I often say, “The mayor has mayor things to do.” They should not be expected to sit in council meetings to maintain quorum.

Shortly after 10:00 a.m. Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing surprised everyone by announcing the reversal of Hamilton’s force urban boundary expansion.

With only eight councillors, and herself, Mayor Horwath had to remain in the Council Chamber. The Mayor met with her Chief of Staff Kara McLean to digest the surprise announcement and prepare the City’s first response while standing in the Council Chamber to keep quorum.

It was a lowlight for a Council elected a year ago with much optimism. A council that is now unnecessarily undermining the public confidence it needs to address the fiscal crisis it inherited.

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Published: October 29, 2023
Last edited: October 29, 2023
Author: Joey Coleman
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