By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
City council has voted in favour of extending Mayor Dan Carter and CAO Paul Ralph’s delegated powers under the emergency management bylaw.
This process allows for Carter and Ralph, who were originally delegated emergency powers on March 13, to help speed up the process of council, and make decisions quicker and more efficiently.
Carter says these powers simply give him and Ralph the opportunity to deal with emergencies on a daily basis without the need to go back to council, and then go through the process of asking for support.
“[Council has] given me confidence, and Paul the confidence to be able to deal with emergencies as they happen,” explains Carter. “It’s an efficient way, but we still have a responsibility to report back to council, and we have a responsibility to make sure we are doing our due diligence even through an emergency process.”
Carter adds it does help to be able to give the city the opportunity to act quickly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But there’s still checks and balances and the accountability to council as the overarching body for the responsibility of the actions of the city,” says Carter. “But I feel confident that myself and Paul have both demonstrated we understand the severity of receiving these types of support by council, but we also understand the weight of the responsibility.”
To Carter the good news is that it helps the city to be able to react quickly, but on the other side of the coin, Carter and Ralph have to make sure they are acting accordingly, and are taking into account that all actions are appropriate and necessary.
“It’s almost like if you show up at a car crash, and I’m a beat cop, it gives me the authority to actually do what I need to do right there and then without asking for authority,” he says.
However, Carter is aware of the weight of this responsibility, noting if he does something wrong there will be repercussions.
“That’s why, under the Emergency Measures Act, we are very methodical, and we do our due diligence in regards to making sure that we check all the requirements to be able to make sure we fulfill our duties accordingly,” he says.
Carter makes it clear though, if a mistake is made it won’t only affect him, but the impact will be to the community as well.
“We want to make sure that our actions are beneficial to those who are being impacted by the emergency here locally,” says Carter. “The repercussions are that if we don’t act accordingly, people will be hurt by our actions. That’s why our actions have to be very methodical, well thought out, but also have to be done in an expedited manner.”
He wants to make it clear to residents he understands the oath of office he has taken, and it is “the greatest honour that has ever been given” to him.
“My main concern is always the health, the safety, and the wellbeing of our residents in the great City of Oshawa,” says Carter.