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Meeting hall too small for AGM


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I think it's been established (post #13) that his mere exclusion constitutes a continuing breach . . . 

 

I'm now not so sure about that. I don't think the exclusion constitutes a "continuing" breach as there's no real "remedy". The "crime" has been committed. All that can be done, as OI 2006-6 notes, is the pursuit of disciplinary sanctions against, for example, the president (who failed to adjourn the meeting).

 

I'm not crazy about it but that's how it seems to me. Right now.

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Well, the remedy  --  if there were a fair number of folks kept out AND some votes were close enough that the "excluded votes" could have made a difference  --  is to rule those close vote motions null and void.

 

I guess so. But I'm still troubled by the fact that even a single member might be improperly excluded and there are no consequences other than the possibility of later disciplinary sanctions. But I think I've exhausted my quota on this topic.

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I rather agree that excluding even a single member  --  he might have been a great orator and able to sway the decision to his way  --  even though he could NOT have made a difference in a substantial supermajority vote, should be as serious a violation of basic rights as if he could have made a difference.

 

The analogy (in  Official Interpretation 2006-6) limps a bit because the illegal vote was perhaps cast by someone who did have the right to attend and debate (if not vote).

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I rather agree that excluding even a single member  --  he might have been a great orator and able to sway the decision to his way  --  even though he could NOT have made a difference in a substantial supermajority vote, should be as serious a violation of basic rights as if he could have made a difference.

 

The analogy (in  Official Interpretation 2006-6) limps a bit because the illegal vote was perhaps cast by someone who did have the right to attend and debate (if not vote).

If a member was denied the right to speak in debate, this would certainly not invalidate any business, however great an orator the member may be. If a member is improperly turned away from a meeting, therefore, it seems to me the same principle applies as if he had been denied the right to vote.

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What if the member wishes to debate the motion but cannot do so? Does that violate his or her basic rights enough to result in a continuing breach?

 

 

In my view, it would not.  The assembly may limit (or prohibit) debate during the course of a meeting. 

 

In my view the meeting would be valid if the members were permitted to vote.  A ballot, or counted vote, could be taken when a set number of members enter the room and others leave. 

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In my view, it would not.  The assembly may limit (or prohibit) debate during the course of a meeting. 

 

The issue I have here is that there are, in fact, fours basic rights listed on p. 3: "to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote." Any decision taken in violation of these rights is null and void. Now, I recall reading at some point an enumeration of the rights that limited the right to speak by allowing it to be overridden by a two-thirds vote, but I can't seem to find that currently.

 

I'm of the opinion that the creation of a continuing breach by the violation of a member's basic right is not contingent on that right being the right to vote. There is, to me, no reason to limit the words on p. 251, ll. 20-24 to such cases. p. 264 provides a little bit more elucidation, allowing for limiting debate and amendment, say with the Previous Question---but only in a generally applicable fashion.

 

To look at it another way, if the assembly voted to suspend the rules "to bar Mr. Wilks from the meeting", that would clearly be out of order. If Mr. Wilks is denied access by the society, even without an order of the assembly to that effect, then by the same logic that leads to the rule permitting Mr. Wilks from attending being unsuspendable, then surely it renders the actions taken null and void.

 

I think that OI-2006-6's prescription that the outcome should not be changed if the vote may not have affected the outcome is more of a pragmatic one. It recognizes that, had the member's right been respected, the outcome would be no different. I don't think that this puts the onus on the member affected to demonstrate that the outcome could have been affected, but rather the opposite. Unless the assembly can be certain that the denial of rights did not affect the outcome, it should give the benefit of the doubt to the member affected.

 

There is perhaps a little wiggle room in this case as it may arguably be in order to suspend the rules "to limit the capacity of this meeting to 300 members owing to physical constraints", that being a generally applicable rule and not applying to a specific member. It does have the consequence of applying unfairly to whoever comes in late, but so does an order that debate will only last for another hour.

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. . . I think I've exhausted my quota on this topic.

Well, so much for that idea.

 

There is perhaps a little wiggle room in this case as it may arguably be in order to suspend the rules "to limit the capacity of this meeting to 300 members owing to physical constraints", that being a generally applicable rule and not applying to a specific member. It does have the consequence of applying unfairly to whoever comes in late, but so does an order that debate will only last for another hour.

 

I don't think the rule that all members have a right to attend meetings is suspendable.

 

And what if no one is late but the hall is too small?

 

I also think this question needn't concern itself with whether the excluded member's vote, or his stellar debating skills, could have affected the disposition of a motion. It's enough that he was prevented from exercising the most basic of rights: the right to be there.

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I'm of the opinion that the creation of a continuing breach by the violation of a member's basic right is not contingent on that right being the right to vote. There is, to me, no reason to limit the words on p. 251, ll. 20-24 to such cases. p. 264 provides a little bit more elucidation, allowing for limiting debate and amendment, say with the Previous Question---but only in a generally applicable fashion.

To look at it another way, if the assembly voted to suspend the rules "to bar Mr. Wilks from the meeting", that would clearly be out of order. If Mr. Wilks is denied access by the society, even without an order of the assembly to that effect, then by the same logic that leads to the rule permitting Mr. Wilks from attending being unsuspendable, then surely it renders the actions taken null and void.

If Mr. Wilks is barred from a meeting (without following proper disciplinary procedures), THAT action is null and void, and a Point of Order can be raised by a member at any time during the continuance of the breach (the duration of the meeting) to remedy the error and allow Mr. Wilks to return. A Point of Order may also be raised regarding this issue at a later meeting. Although it is too late to undo the damage, such a point is important to ensure that such a thing does not happen again and, perhaps, to use as evidence in disciplinary procedures.

The improper removal of a single member, however, does not have the effect of invalidating any and all business subsequently conducted by the assembly. Individual motions would be null and void if a single vote could have changed the outcome.

There is perhaps a little wiggle room in this case as it may arguably be in order to suspend the rules "to limit the capacity of this meeting to 300 members owing to physical constraints", that being a generally applicable rule and not applying to a specific member. It does have the consequence of applying unfairly to whoever comes in late, but so does an order that debate will only last for another hour.

I do not agree that such a motion is in order, but if such a motion is nonetheless adopted, the situation is the same as above. Subsequent business is null and void only if the votes of the excluded members could have affected the result.

The proper course of action for the assembly would have been to adjourn the meeting to a larger location or, as J.J. suggests, to use methods which rotated members in and out of the meeting, so that all members may (at least) exercise their right to vote.

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If Daniel Webster had been excluded from his meeting/debate, then Jabez Stone would sure be in trouble now.  

 

What is your basis for asserting (or implying) that the individual's right to attend, and the right to debate, are any less basic than the right to vote?

 

Granted, making motions, debate, and voting are contingent on attendance but, if anything, that makes attendance an even more basic right.  

 

So denying attendance, for any reason, completely spoils the rest of the meeting and the decisions reached therein.   (Excepting disciplinary related exclusions, &c, of course.)

 

To the extent that  Official Interp #6 implies that only a denial of a vote can "cause" a continuing breach, in contrast to a denial of attendance, and ability to debate, not causing one,  I am clearly in disagreement.  And willing to take my lumps like a man.

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What is your basis for asserting (or implying) that the individual's right to attend, and the right to debate, are any less basic than the right to vote?

 

Granted, making motions, debate, and voting are contingent on attendance but, if anything, that makes attendance an even more basic right.  

 

So denying attendance, for any reason, completely spoils the rest of the meeting and the decisions reached therein.   (Excepting disciplinary related exclusions, &c, of course.)

 

I am not suggesting that the right to attend or to speak in debate is any "less basic" than the right to vote. Nonetheless, there is nothing in RONR which suggests that improperly denying a member the right to attend "completely spoils the rest of the meeting and the decisions reached therein."

 

To the extent that  Official Interp #6 implies that only a denial of a vote can "cause" a continuing breach, in contrast to a denial of attendance, and ability to debate, not causing one,  I am clearly in disagreement.  And willing to take my lumps like a man.

 

A denial of the right to attend also necessarily means a denial of the right to vote, so OI 2006-6 is equally applicable to denial of the right to attend. Only the second paragraph would be applicable to a denial of the right to speak in debate.

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In my view, it would not.  The assembly may limit (or prohibit) debate during the course of a meeting. 

 

In my view the meeting would be valid if the members were permitted to vote.  A ballot, or counted vote, could be taken when a set number of members enter the room and others leave. 

 

The assembly may limit or prohibit debate in general, but it may not limit or prohibit the right of Bob, in particular, to debate, or for that matter to attend or to vote.

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The assembly may limit or prohibit debate in general, but it may not limit or prohibit the right of Bob, in particular, to debate, or for that matter to attend or to vote.

 

 

They would not be prohibiting Bob from debating, necessarily.  He could come in and speak. 

 

Obviously adjourning to a larger venue would be preferable, but the meeting could still be validly conducted. 

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The issue I have here is that there are, in fact, fours basic rights listed on p. 3: "to attend meetings, to make motions, to speak in debate, and to vote." Any decision taken in violation of these rights is null and void. Now, I recall reading at some point an enumeration of the rights that limited the right to speak by allowing it to be overridden by a two-thirds vote, but I can't seem to find that currently.

 

I'm of the opinion that the creation of a continuing breach by the violation of a member's basic right is not contingent on that right being the right to vote. There is, to me, no reason to limit the words on p. 251, ll. 20-24 to such cases. p. 264 provides a little bit more elucidation, allowing for limiting debate and amendment, say with the Previous Question---but only in a generally applicable fashion.

 

 

 

I disagree.  The assembly may, by suspending the rules, prohibit any debate during the session.  Further, the rules could be suspended to prohibit some or all motions from being made.  Robert's earlier work, Parliamentary Practice, gives an example of the latter on pp.  19-20.  It is not a "basic right" of the individual member to make motions or to enter into debate.   

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So you disagree with p. 3 then?

 

 

No, p. 3 does not indicate these are a "basic right of the individual member ."  The right to make a motion is clearly limited to in order motions.  The right to debate may be curtailed by a number of motions. 

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No, p. 3 does not indicate these are a "basic right of the individual member ."  The right to make a motion is clearly limited to in order motions.  The right to debate may be curtailed by a number of motions. 

 

Doesn't what is said on page 264 indicate that these are basic rights of individual members?

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They would not be prohibiting Bob from debating, necessarily.  He could come in and speak. 

 

Obviously adjourning to a larger venue would be preferable, but the meeting could still be validly conducted. 

 

References to debating (and voting) are missing the point. Members are being prevented from attending (at the same time as other members). Shuffling members in and out means that some members will miss what other members are hearing, violating one of the principle requirements of a deliberative assembly.

 

And by what authority would you require members to leave in order to make room for "absent" members (standing just outside the door)?

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No, because these do not deny a particular member that right. 

If some members were allowed to attend and others were not, then those particular members who were excluded were denied their right to attend.

 

From the statement, "Robbing a bank is a crime," it would be incorrect to conclude that robbing two or more banks is not a crime

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If some members were allowed to attend and others were not, then those particular members who were excluded were denied their right to attend.

 

From the statement, "Robbing a bank is a crime," it would be incorrect to conclude that robbing two or more banks is not a crime

 

That's all well and good, but the limitations J.J. discusses in Post #43 do not deny any particular member(s) the right to speak in debate or to make motions.

 

No one is suggesting that the assembly acted at all properly by denying some members the right to attend the meeting. Since this has already occurred, however, the more important question is what the parliamentary situation is now. Personally, I maintain that the situation is comparable to when particular members are denied the right to vote. The business conducted by the assembly is valid except for any motions where the votes of the excluded members could have affected the result.

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