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Councillor calls for better access for French-speakers - Metro US

Councillor calls for better access for French-speakers

The Halifax Regional Municipality needs to work harder to communicate with its French-speaking residents, one municipal councillor said last night.

Coun. Darren Fisher of East Dartmouth-The Lakes suggested that all HRM releases promoting city events, public service announcements and website notifications should be made available in French, saying publishing them only in English means some francophones don’t get the information they need from the municipality.

A staff report based on Fisher’s comments was requested by council, and is expected within a few weeks.

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Both Coun. Steve Streatch and Coun. Gloria McCluskey rose last night to publicly defend their attendance at regional council and committee of the whole meetings in 2009.

They were responding to a story in The Chronicle-Herald on Jan. 8 that examined councillors’ individual attendance records based on official minutes from the meetings. The story stated Streatch had missed 16 sessions, and McCluskey eight.

Streatch argued most of his absences were from smaller committee meetings, and called the story “unfortunate” and “hurtful.”

“The work of council members is done in many ways,” Streatch added. “I take my role very seriously.”

McCluskey argued her job “is not all about meetings,” and said she had valid excuses for each absence.

Both councillors vowed, however, to improve their records in 2010.

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A report to regional council regarding the feasibility of a trap, neuter, and release program for HRM’s stray cats was not discussed at last night’s meeting.

The report was intended only to provide councillors with information about the program, explained Coun. Russell Walker.

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