The Ontario Ombudsman can now investigate the role municipalities played within the Midhurst Secondary Plan fiasco.

Provincial law was exempted to green-light the Midhurst sprawl plan. “Who did what, when” is now open with a simple telephone complaint to Mr. Marin’s office.

Andre Marin3

With the passage of Bill 8 Tuesday, Ontario ombudsman André Marin’s sights are particularly set on municipal councils, which he described a year ago as being addicted to secrecy.

The Toronto Star reports in Ombudsman André Marin looks forward to his new powers:

“As of the implementation of this bill we’ll be overseeing 443 municipalities . . . as well as 83 school boards and 22 universities representing roughly $30 billion in provincial expenditures that up until now have been going under the radar,” he said…

Marin’s sights are particularly set on municipal councils, which he described a year ago as being addicted to secrecy.

It is no surprise that there are strong forces (direct and indirect) that resist this oversight of public money and policies.

“I think history has shown . . . that municipalities need all the help they can get. This is an area fraught with controversy, conflict of interest, low oversight, whether it’s Brampton, Mississauga, Toronto, Sudbury and London. The list goes on,” he said.

As recently as July, municipalities made it clear they didn’t want Marin to stick his nose in their business.

Notably, the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) highlighted on its website that municipalities will be able to apply to a court to determine whether the Ontario Ombudsman has jurisdiction to investigate a complaint.

Opportunism in public or private enterprise relies on two things: self-interest and deceit.

Mr. Marin has a public reputation for sincerity and fearless truth-seeking.

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