Jennifer Keesmaat is the Chief Planner of Toronto. She was hired for this job in 2012.
She has a Masters in Environmental Studies (Politics and Planning). She is a Registered Professional Planner with the Canadian Institute of Planners. And she was also the founder of 2 (city) planning firms prior to taking the position of Chief Planner for Toronto.
So presumably, she was hired for this job because she possesses some sort of expertise in the realm of planning. I also presume that she is expected to make her opinions known to other people so that informed planning discussions can occur and decisions can be made.
So I find it curious that in some circles, and in the media, Jennifer Keesmaat is being branded as a “troublemaker.”
Eventually Tory had enough and pulled Keesmaat into a meeting where he basically told her to zip it. “The mayor has said it is perfectly appropriate for staff to make their opinions public, as Ms. Keesmaat has done,” wrote his communications chief, Amanda Galbraith, in a statement. “It is not appropriate for city staff to campaign against councillors or the mayor on social media or through other public platforms.” Keesmaat counters that she never campaigned. “I stated an opinion,” she says simply.
But the “troublemaking” didn’t just start with the Gardiner East. Pretty much since the moment she took the position of Chief Planner and launched her own blog (ownyourcity.ca), she was dubbed a shit disturber. (Those bloggers!)
But if you ask me, these criticisms stem from an old and outdated way of thinking.
The last thing we need from government is less transparency and more politicking. We should be working towards more, not less, information. Even if that information doesn’t butter our metaphorical bread.
What do you think?
I think this will make for a great discussion in the comment section below.