Monday, April 16, 2007

Response from "Municipal Affairs" regarding Haldimand Council

Well I received a response today from Minister John Gerretsen. I do understand that Municipal Affairs cannot really get involved. But what he does say is that he encourages us to contact municipal council and staff in regards to the development of a code of conduct and the appointment of an integrity officer. I would hope that there are individuals out there that do want to get involved with this process. It is vital that we have these "tools" available. Below is a copy of the letter I received today.

Dear Ms. Pitcher:

Thank you for your faxed letter dated March 22nd, 2007 and your subsequent e-mail dated April 3, 2007, regarding an article printed in your local newspaper and your dealings with members of Haldimand County Council in this respect. I appreciated receiving your correspondence and have noted your concerns.

From your letter, I understand that you are particularly concerned about the remarks of certain current and former councillors, which appeared in the article of 2005 and resulted in your taking the local newspaper to Small Claims Court for libel/slander. I also appreciate your concern that the members in question have not taken responsibility for their remarks, and that the matter has not been pursed by the current council.

While I can understand your frustration, this remains a legal matter and, consequently, it would not be appropriate for me as, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, to intervene or to make recommendations to you about possible future legal action. I therefore encourage you to continue discussions with your lawyer before proceeding further.

I would also like to take this opportunity to point out that the Municipal Act, 2001 has been amended-under the Municipal Statute Law Amendment Act, 2006-to include new accountability and transparency provisions. Effective January 1, 2007, municipal councils have the discretionary authority to establish a code of conduct for council and local boards and to appoint an integrity commissioner, an ombudsman and an auditor general.

For more information, you may wish to access the online version of the amendments on the government’s e-laws Website, I would also encourage you to contact municipal council and staff to discuss the new provisions in the Municipal Act, 2001 that provide for the development of a code of conduct for council and the appointment of integrity officers.

Ms. Donna Pitcher, once again, thank you for bringing this matter to my attention.
John Gerretsen

So is there anyone out there that is interested? I am, but I can't do it alone, and besides the point it is clear that any correspondence that would come from me, wouldn't go far!

1 comment:

  1. I will support this venture completely. It is time to hold our elected representatives accountable for their actions. Elections are not the time to do this as people tend to forget what has happened during the last 4 years. Council needs to be tapped on the fingers (to put it mildly!) as soon as it happens.