More Ontario municipal conflicts of interest allegations involving politicians taking care of their corporate friends.

November 24, 2014

The publics’ tolerance for the  way corporations influence politicians is changing. At least for the dumb and dumber varieties.

As fords

A good story from CBC.ca drawing in my old franchising friend, Canada Bread and Maple Leaf Foods and wastewater, is called As Fords exit mayor’s office, conflict probes intensify:

The proposed fee hike would have raised Maple Leaf’s wastewater surcharges by between 35 and 75 per cent, according to city estimates, potentially representing a total yearly increase of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Both Ford brothers voted against, helping defeat the proposal 22-18.

Coun. Mike Layton, who was pushing for the fee hikes, said it would have been straightforward for the Fords to declare an interest without complicating council’s deliberations.

“You declare a conflict of interest, you leave the room for that vote, and no one pays any attention to it,” he said in an interview. “It’s not rocket science.”

As usual, it is the single voice that sounds the alarm.

The third complaint, a court action under Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, alleges the Fords voted on and tried to influence agenda items at City Hall affecting their company, Deco Labels, and some of its customers. Even with Doug soon to be out of office and Rob in a lesser role, the civic activist who brought the case said her plan is to “see it to its end.”

“The vagaries of an election don’t give you a pass for past behaviour,” said Jude MacDonald, who noted the stakes are high: She’s asking the judge to ban both Fords from holding municipal elected office for the maximum seven years.

And one of the Fords wants to be the Ontario tory leader?

 


Ontario elites silence their opponents via real or imagined SLAPP lawsuits

April 16, 2014

Ontario has no anti-SLAPP legislation which favours those most able to access and influence the legislative process.

SLAPPs (strategic lawsuits against public participation) are the powerful’s very useful weapon in managing change in environmental, political, business, and municipal boundary controversies.

Definition

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

The typical SLAPP plaintiff does not normally expect to win the lawsuit. The plaintiff’s goals are accomplished if the defendant succumbs to fear, intimidation, mounting legal costs or simple exhaustion and abandons the criticism. A SLAPP may also intimidate others from participating in the debate. Wikipedia excerpt

Originally posted on Feb 22, 2012.

SLAPPs

1. Reality of Litigation UPDATE: No anti-SLAPP law yet and no citizen-directed litigation against Midhurst residents (not like Big Bay Point). But, Springwater Township hauled before quasi-judicial Ontario Municipal Board. Their offence?: not rubber-stamping zoning bylaws fast enough before the Environmental-Assessments 3 and 4 are completed.

2. Illusion/Fear of Litigation UPDATE: Councillor Rick Webster says he believes stopping the Midhurst Secondary Plan would cost +$100-million. In 2008, Maple Leaf Foods was linked to the deaths of 29 people. Their estates received $27-million in awards  after the Merchant Law Group filed class-actions worth $350-million.

That’s make that a 7.7% ratio of cash paid-out by defendant to claim filed by plaintiff.

The land speculation business is (by its very nature) very high risk, high return.

I believe any ON Superior or Appeal Court Justice knows an attempt to wring private gain from public loss.


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