And then aren’t they all in a conflict of interest in dealing with the Midhurst Secondary Plan, MSP?
There are two alternatives: the lawsuit threat is (1) real or (2) not real.
- If the threat is real, by choosing to defend the MSP, aren’t the present council admitting that they’re gaining personally (ie. avoiding a loss) by not being sued?
- If the lawsuit threat is just an excuse, aren’t they showing contempt for the electorate and therefore breaching their fiduciary duty and trust?
Note how low the standard of public wrongdoing appears to be: the mere appearance of any conflict.
What appears certain is that the current Council cannot ethically decide whether to continue to defend nor rescind the Midhurst Secondary Plan.
This is their dilemma.
MISSISSAUGA JUDICIAL INQUIRY REPORT RELEASED ON OCTOBER 3, 2011
Commissioner J. Douglas Cunningham released the Report of the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry in Mississauga. It was transmitted to the Mayor and City Council shortly before the public release. website
City of Mississauga Judicial Inquiry
Quotes from the Mississauga Inquiry:
Members of City Council are entrusted by those who elect them to act in the public interest. Optics are important. In other words, members of a municipal council must conduct themselves in such a way as to avoid any reasonable apprehension that their personal interest could in any way influence their elected responsibility. Suffice it to say that members of Council (and staff) are not to use their office to promote private interest, whether their own or those of relatives or friends. The must be unbiased in the exercise of their duties. That is not only the common law, but the common sense standard by which the conduct of municipal representatives ought to be judged. p.380
In Moll v. Fisher et al.,  O.J. No. 4113, Robins J. wrote at paragraph 10:
This enactment, like all conflict-of-interest rules, is based on the moral principle, long embodied by our jurisprudence, that no man can serve two masters. It recognizes the fact that the judgment of even the most well-meaning men and women may be impaired when their personal financial interests are affected. Public office is a trust conferred by public authority for public purpose. p. 378
…from L’Abbe v. Blind River (Village) 1904 CarswellOnt. 87, 3 O.W.R. 162 (Div. Ct), Boyd J.:
The member of a council stands as trustee for the local community, and he is not to to vote or deal as to gain or appear to gain private advantage out of matters over which he, as one of the council, has supervision for the benefit of the public. p. 379
Their overriding duty seems to be to the electorate, not to the Corporation of the Township of Springwater or their personal legal liability.
…avoid any reasonable apprehension that their personal interest could in any way influence their elected responsibility.