Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Haldimand "Really People Should We Even Care?"

I finally had the time to view the Haldimand County Council Meeting of December 10th, 2007. I have got to say that as I was getting ready to post this article, it hit me. It seems that whenever Council makes a "decision" that is "directly" related to them a decision by council is almost always "immediate", with little or no debate. But it seems that more important issues regarding Haldimand County take months upon months, if not years. But of course, "You" be the "Judge" of that statement.

At this December 10th meeting Council passed Recommendation # 37 by staff to hire LAS to be the investigative body for closed-door sessions. I originally wrote about this issue in January 2007. Haldimand "Really People We have Nothing to Hide!"

Here is some information that I found out about LAS;

Local Authority Services Ltd. (LAS) LAS was created in 1992 by AMO to deliver programs and services that help municipalities reduce the cost of "common expenditures and increase revenues."

LAS has established a bulk electricity procurement program for all interested municipalities. This program is expected to realize substantial savings for municipalities for all electricity consumption, including street lighting accounts.

The Natural Gas Program currently purchases more than 10,000GJ of natural gas for over 2,200 physical locations within 175 municipalities and other public sector organizations. In 2006 the program provided members with 14% savings compared to utility gas rates.

The ONE Funds investment program, jointly operated with the CHUMS Financing Corp. offers a diversified way for municipalities to invest short-term and long-term surplus funds. Recently an Equity Fund was launched as a way for municipalities to leverage new investment powers provided by the Province.

Here is some information that I found out about the Ombudsman;

"The Ombudsman, whose services are free, has proven an effective watchdog that investigates government maladministration with honesty and integrity."

What I found very unusual about watching this meeting was that usually Recommendations are read "verbatim" and then discussed and voted on. At the least a recommendation is read "verbatim" before being voted on. Councillor Boyko did not read this recommendation verbatim; he touched on the "highlights" of this recommendation, leaving key information out.

There was very little discussion on this matter, in fact what council seemed to be more worried about was; can "anyone" just put in a complaint and it be investigated? The Ombudsman was never even mentioned, nor the fact that this could be a burden on the County’s finances.

What I really find strange is that Councillor Boyko is usually the one on Council that reads "every single report", and asks a lot of questions, but even he was vague, and didn’t seem to have any real concerns or was fully informed. It just doesn’t make sense to me that our entire Council voted in favour of a two year contract with LAS, in the 38 page "staff" report it states that the "Ombudsman" does not charge a fee of any kind to either the person putting forth a complaint, or the Municipality.

There was a "38" page report by staff "attached to the council agenda and yet Council seemed to have very little information on this issue, in fact this report was never even talked about, or referred to.

I can tell you that this is highly unusual. I would ask did they even read this report? I would really like to ask if in fact this was discussed behind closed doors, as that would make perfect sense to me why this was not really discussed and was passed so quickly. In fact as this short discussion was taking place, Councillor Delmonte made a reference to another issue, not even related to the issue that was on the table. The next thing you know they were voting and passing this recommendation unanimously 7-0. Boom Bang Done!

When I called Mayor Trainer at the beginning of January and asked why she did not vote this recommendation down, she didn’t seem to know what I was talking about. Once I explained to her what was in the report she really couldn’t answer why she didn’t know. I directly asked Mayor Trainer if in fact they had talked about this behind closed doors, she stated that she didn’t really remember discussing this issue at all.

Karen Best, a reporter from the Dunnville Chronicle wrote an excellent article in January 2007 regarding council’s decision. When Karen interviewed Councillor Boyko, he stated that he and most of Council did not know this information about the Ombudsman.

So I now I have a few more questions;

Do you think that Council should re-visit this issue?

Mayor Trainer, why have you not re-visited this issue with council since our conversation in early January?

Councillor Boyko, why have you not re-visited this issue since your interview with Karen Best, when you admitted that you weren’t really informed about this issue?

Are staff members informing our current Council members of these important issues, or just giving them direction?

Has Council since read the "38" page report that was attached to their agendas?

Maybe I am in left field with my opinions on this issue, maybe the fact is that Senior Staff have in fact "not informed" our Council properly on this important issue. In this case I would say that Council has got some serious work on their hands. Now in saying that, Senior staff at "any" Council meeting only answer a question if they are "directly" asked by a Council member. In my personal opinion Staff "did" in fact do their job. What it does make me wonder about is how many other staff reports has this council "not read"!

We must not forget that "Staff’" inform our Council Members on important issues, "Staff" make "recommendations", not "decisions". "Council makes their "decisions" based on staff reports and "direct’s" Staff to "implement" their "decisions".

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Haldimand "My Afternoon at the Courthouse"

An update on Resolution #863-07.

Before I get into my day at the Courthouse, The following are some comments that have been made in the past regarding this resolution;

I am really trying hard not to be too "hard" on certain council members, but if you look around "guys" there is a lot of serious issues in Haldimand County! This is not a "Priority" that needs to be passed in a week! "All" members of council and the "Clerks office" and "Karen General" do not have the "right" to scrutinize "ALL" correspondence that comes to the "Mayor Elects Office"! Stick to doing your own "JOBS".

AND WHERAS all e-mail, and hard copy correspondence that is sent to "all" members of "Council", should be in return sent to "all" other members of "council", and the "Mayor’s office", and such "e-mails" and hard copy correspondence be in return "sent" to "all" heads of staff, as this is "critical" to successfully conduct the business of the "Corporation".

I have been to enough council meetings that I can tell you, council was "not happy" that we had involved ourselves with their business. That was made perfectly clear just before lunch when "Mayor Trainer" advised her council that the residents here today were asking to speak to council regarding the resolution on the table. In particular she named Mike Parent, Merlyn Kinrade, and Dave Brown, all residents of Haldimand County.

Then one councilor called for "all of council and staff" to leave the council chambers and carry on their meeting in "another room", that’s right you heard me, they "left us" sitting in the council chambers! Now at this point I felt that the council members were very rude and disrespectful to us. Now one could say that we were defiant as we would not leave chambers and we were in the wrong, but really when I think of it, what was the worst thing that council could have done….well….they….did it……they wouldn’t allow us to speak! So we stood in defiance, and I am proud of what we did!

A lot has been said recently about our rights as citizens to hold our elected officials responsible for their actions. To quote George Orwell from his novel Animal Farm "All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others".

It is fundamentally important that we all remember at all times that our citizens' rights are only valid when the powers that be wish to recognize them as such because you see, without their approval and recognition these so called rights have no authority.

At the same time if I communicate with the Mayor it is because I want to interact with her and not you. The first time you become privy to an email or letter anyone sends privately to the Mayor, the County will be in a position to be sued for invasion of privacy.

I would like to "clarify" a statement that was made by Councillor Sloat to a local newspaper reporter, "he stated that we did not go through the "proper" channels to be heard"! The truth about this was that "council" didn't follow their own procedures here! There was no "motion" prior to this "resolution", the public was not privy to this, actually the Mayor was not even "privy" to what council and staff were up to! So is this how a Council Member tells the "truth" to the public?

Also at the Council in Committee meeting last Wednesday, council excepted Mike Parent’s letter as information. If you are not familiar with this letter, it is posted on my site as "Bold attack on Freedoms". Last night council defeated this vote, so there will be no "official" record of Mike’s letter. So in an essence, council is saying, we don’t "care" what you have to say, or what you think, and we "strike" your comments from the "record"! "Is this a government that is "accountable and transparent"?

Well today I went to the Courthouse in Cayuga, what an experience that was! To put it in a nutshell “I was in the wrong place” to even deal with the issue of this resolution that council passed in August of 2007. I don’t know what I was thinking, when I assumed that all I needed to do was go to see a Justice of the Peace. There is a lesson to be learned here. So make a coffee and enjoy my story if you have the time.

Back in August of 2007, Haldimand County Council passed resolution #863-07; this resolution takes away your right to contact the Mayor of Haldimand County in a private and confidential manner, whether through the means of e-mail or Canada Post. Basically this resolution in my opinion is a direct violation of my privacy rights and maybe even yours.

So according to the Municipal Act, if you believe a bylaw has been passed that is contrary to any other laws you just need to request through the Superior Court of Justice to have the said bylaw quashed. Well much easier said then done.

Here is the section of the Municipal Act that relates to this issue;

Quashing By-laws

272. A by-law passed in good faith under any Act shall not be quashed or open to review in whole or in part by any court because of the unreasonableness or supposed unreasonableness of the by-law. 2001, c. 25, s. 272.

Application to quash by-law

273. (1) Upon the application of any person, the Superior Court of Justice may quash a by-law of a municipality in whole or in part for illegality. 2001, c. 25, s. 273 (1).


(2) In this section,
By-law” includes an order or resolution. 2001, c. 25, s. 273 (2).


(3) If an application to quash alleges a contravention of subsection 90 (3) of the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, the Superior Court of Justice may direct an inquiry into the alleged contravention to be held before an official examiner or a judge of the court, and the evidence of the witnesses in the inquiry shall be given under oath and shall form part of the evidence in the application to quash. 2001, c. 25, s. 273 (3).

Other cases

(4) The court may direct that nothing shall be done under the by-law until the application is disposed of. 2001, c. 25, s. 273 (4).

(5) An application to quash a by-law in whole or in part, subject to section 415, shall be made within one year after the passing of the by-law. 2001, c. 25, s. 273 (5).
Judicial Investigation

As the Justice of the Peace is only available on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, I finally had the time to put my paperwork in order and do what I had said I would do. Try and start the process to have this bylaw investigated and possibly quashed.

Well I was wrong, not surprised I guess, but very disappointed.

It seems that in order to follow through on this you need to fill out an “Application” to the “Superior Court of Justice”. Now this “Application” is a piece of paper that has a “blue” backing, you may wonder why I even mention this, well it seems that you “cannot” get this “Application” from the Courthouse. This type of paperwork comes from a “Lawyer”.

So here is the process, an application is made, this application costs $181.00, now I don’t know if this is $181.00 x 5 Council Members that voted in favour, or just one charge of $181.00. Of course in order for me to get this information, I need to see a “Lawyer”. Then of course there is the cost of acquiring a Lawyer, getting his/her advice, and paying the Lawyer to proceed on your behalf. Then this application goes to the court and is heard by a Judge. Then I am sure that there are costs in relation to going to court, the calling of witnesses etc………

Now unless someone knows a lawyer that will give advise freely, or someone who has an abundance of extra cash on hand that would like to share, this issue is a dead issue! I cannot do this alone, and there is a time frame of one year to do this through the Court.

So do you think that Haldimand County Councillors already knew this? Do you think that Haldimand County Council believed that this bylaw would be challenged?

So what can we do? Appeal to the Mayor? Appeal to Haldimand County Councillors? Appeal to Municipal Affairs? Well I believe that the answer to all of the above is, well we have already tried that avenue.

It is not often that I am discouraged, in fact I constantly say to people that if you “do nothing”, “nothing” will happen, and yes you do make a difference.

But I must admit that today I am having a hard time believing my own words. I had even thought of deleting my Blog. I can’t help thinking what the hell am I accomplishing here? But at the same time I am not willing to give up. Well maybe my focus should just be…simply…..Informing the public. After all there is an election in 2010, and an informed public is a good voting public!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Haldimand "Judy Laszlo and David Crombie"

Wednesday night’s Public meeting with David Crombie was well attended by residents that came from across the County, it was good to see. Don Boyle CAO of Haldimand County also did a presentation on the County’s Recovery Package that was submitted to upper levels of Government in December of 2007.

The entire meeting is available to view at

A special thanks to Numberswatchdog!

I would like to focus on a few people today, Judy Laszlo, a resident of Caledonia, and David Crombie.

I met Judy back in the fall of 2007 and have written about her website, Have Your Say Caledonia. If you haven’t checked this website out yet please go to;

Judy has attended every "public meeting", every "not so public" meeting, has met personally with David Crombie, has met on a number of occasions with Mr. Maclean from the OPP, has met with the Mayor and Council members, she has stood on street corners with signs, organized an excellent protest on Domtar Hill, etc…… Judy is passionate and caring, and is truly an amazing woman. I can only say that this County needs more people like Judy!

Wednesday night Judy asked Haldimand County CAO Don Boyle about a comment in the County Recovery Package regarding residents acting inappropriately; the following is (verbatim) from the County’s report;


As compared to development activity that occurred between 2001 and 2005 the on-going land claims issues are having a significant economic and social impact on Haldimand County as evidenced by lost know development proposals, impacts on existing assessment and impacts to the image of the county in terms of future investment.

Indicators of these impacts include;

*A significant reduction of construction value from pre-land claims activity.*Significant direct loss of permit revenues.
*Loss of Development Charge revenue.
*Lost annual taxation revenue from reduced assessment.
*On-going social tensions in the County that is causing significant stress for the local population and inappropriate behaviour on the part of some residents.
*Loss of "brand image" for the County as a place for private investment.

Judy was never given a direct answer, basically Don Boyle’s statement was I don’t believe that the report says that. Judy made it very clear to Haldimand County Council and CAO Don Boyle that it is time that this County supports and backs up its residents.

All members of Haldimand County Council were at this meeting as well, and not one of them spoke up on this question. Actually not one member of Council spoke at all. I do believe that most of us would agree with the concerns that Judy has regarding this statement. This was uncalled for!

I personally met and spoke with Mr. Crombie after the first public meeting back in the fall of 2007. My first impression of Mr. Crombie was that he was rather "harsh", and he was certainly "brutally honest". I do believe that some of the residents at the public meeting thought that he was rude and confrontational. But by the end of the first meeting I realized that he is a very sincere hard working individual.

One of the things that came to me on Wednesday night at the second public meeting was that Mr. Crombie is the "only person" that has had the "balls" to stand in front of the "residents" of Haldimand County.

Mr. Crombie is not the "decision maker" he cannot personally solve our problems, he can only take our concerns and direct them to the proper authorities, and in return, inform the public.

I think that one of the problems that some have with Mr. Crombie is that he is very honest, and although residents have asked for honest and open relations, we are not quite used to getting what we ask for.

So to you Mr. Crombie, from me personally, Thanks for your honesty, your passion and your involvement, keep pushing for answers on our behalf! P.S. next meeting you really need to try and bring a representative from the OPP, if they do not want to attend, be honest and let us know!

I believe that the main problem is a lack of "communication". We have members of Council that are at a side table and we never seem to hear anything from them. Our own Council has never had a public meeting, in fact according to them some residents are acting inappropriately.

As Judy said on Wednesday night, when is this County going to back up the residents. We should all be demanding this from our elected officials!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Haldimand "John Tory Speaks Out"

The following is a speach by John Tory;

I’m here today with MPP Toby Barrett to talk about the breakdown in the rule of law in Ontario.
The economy is getting a lot of attention these days and for good reason. But a growing trend of unchecked lawlessness around Ontario seems to be slipping under the radar. Stopping it is definitely not on Dalton McGuinty’s priority list.

So we’re here today to start a campaign to draw attention to what Mr. McGuinty is allowing to happen and to bring about an end to this kind of lawlessness in Ontario.

When the House returns later this month (whether it’s in the morning or afternoon) our Party will once again stand up for the rule of law. Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals are letting respect for the law, the backbone of our entire system, crumble and we just can’t stand by and let it happen.

We live in Ontario, not the O.K. Corral. It’s time the actions of Ontario’s Premier and his government reflect that.

To date, the PC Party has been the only Party in Ontario standing up for the rule of law.

The reason we’re here today is because two weeks from now is an important but very sad anniversary – two years of an illegal occupation in Caledonia. That’s 730 days where people have been subjected to extortion, barricades, occupations, destruction of private and public property and a whole host of other unlawful activity.

Dalton McGuinty’s response to this has been to look the other way. That’s a disgrace, it’s an abdication of leadership and our Party won’t stand for it because the people of Ontario don’t accept it, nor should they.

The lawlessness we’ve seen in Caledonia is not the only example but it’s the worst one of a growing trend of disrespect for the law. Here are some of the other examples:

Developers on the Grand River have been hit with “development fees” which are essentially extortion. No one does anything about it while these law abiding businesspeople are harassed and ripped off;

The illegal cigarette industry is booming. Other than the media, no one says a word while the law is broken and taxpayers are ripped off for billions, probably by organized crime;

Other occupations and blockades crop up regularly as people decide we should resolve disputes just the way it’s being done in Caledonia;

There was a mixed martial arts championship card on Six Nations territory last weekend, despite the fact it is illegal in Ontario;

Serious charges are dropped due to incompetence or worse in the Attorney General’s department and chaos in the court system. But after a couple of days of investigating himself and his own department, the Attorney General says we don’t need an independent investigation;

Thousands of provincial offence charges are dropped across the province due to a shortage of JPs and closed courtrooms.

These are just a few examples. We’re seeing more every day.

People in Ontario simply cannot go on seeing double standards, governments looking the other way while laws are broken and there are hamstrung police officers who may be reluctant to enforce the law within the climate created by the McGuinty government.

If I set up a gate at the entrance to Queen’s Park claiming I owned the land, and tried to charge a hefty admission fee, I would be asked to leave and if I refused, I would be arrested – and rightly so.

If I sold contraband no tax cigarettes out of the back of my car in the parking lot, I would be arrested and brought to justice, and rightly so.

We need to see consistency, one standard for all, some real leadership from Mr. McGuinty based on principle, and while politicians do not and must not tell the police what to do, they must be seen actively enforcing the law.

Our campaign to stop this will take a number of forms. We are going to push the government in the Legislature. I will be visiting affected areas and sitting down with affected groups. And we will use every means at our disposal to try to get this government to end the lawlessness.

We want to see four things from the McGuinty government:

A clear, unqualified statement that there is one rule of law for everyone in Ontario and that will be upheld always.

2. A policy that the government will not negotiate on the substance of any legal dispute with any person or group involved in an illegal occupation or any other illegal activity. Stop the lawbreaking first, then we will negotiate.

3. A commitment to use the courts to ensure one rule of law and a commitment to not stand in the way of police enforcing the law.

4. A commitment to an independent examination of the chaos presently enveloping our justice system and eroding public confidence daily as charges are dropped and outrageous deals are agreed to. What does the government have to hide and if the answer is nothing, why not commit to the inquiry now?

Through these things – a strong message, clear policy and action to back that up – we can stop lawlessness in Ontario.

We are heading down a slippery slope. That needs to stop and it’s up to Dalton McGuinty to show the leadership to get that done.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Haldimand "Toby Barrett Sits with Haldimand Council"

Toby Barrett spoke with the members of Haldimand County Council on Monday, regarding Land Claims Issues.

There were many excellent points and suggestions brought up at this joint meeting by both Toby Barrett and Haldimand County Council.

I won't go into all the details regarding the meeting, but if you are interested Numberswatchdog taped the meeting for your to view. Please go to; MPP Toby Barrett meets Haldimand Council Feb 11 08

This was an excellent meeting and I urge you to take the time and watch this "raw" footage. Thanks once again to Numberswatch, you are a valuable resource for the residents of this County!

One of the highlights was the following document that Toby presented to Council to endorse if they wish. Council did receive this as information and will send it to staff to look at. I do believe it was Councillor Boyko that stated the County would need a week to look at it and make a decision.

Regardless Toby is asking for "Your" opinions, here is another great opportunity to have your voice heard!

The following is an update from Toby and the proclamation;

Hi, Toby here,

Yesterday I was invited to sit with Haldimand Councillors during Committee of the Whole to discuss the impact of Aboriginal issues on the County.

As part of our deliberations I presented the attached proclamation for review and possible action by councillors.

Your thoughts (additions, deletions or other changes) would be most welcome.


February 2008

WHEREAS, since February 28, 2006, people across Haldimand County and beyond have been subjected to arson, extortion, barricades, land seizures, occupations, militant protests, and related harassment, intimidation, mob violence and threats to public safety.

AND WHEREAS, the community safety, social and economic life, of Haldimand and neighbouring residents, has declined because of the climate of fear, chaos and uncertainty generated by various acts of lawlessness and related intimidation.

AND WHEREAS, there is a perception, and evidence, of two categories of law, of justice, of police protection, and government action based on one’s race and geographical location within Haldimand County and beyond.

AND WHEREAS, the lawlessness, and the less than adequate prevention and response on the part of police and other government authorities regarding these illegal acts appears to be tolerated, and perhaps condoned, by provincial and federal government policy.

AND WHEREAS, both the provincial and federal governments have legislative, regulatory, enforcement, decision-making and policy-making capability beyond the mandate and scope of Haldimand County.

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED, that Haldimand County, in support of all of its residents, proclaim and request, with utmost urgency, that the following actions be taken where mandated at the provincial and federal level:

(1) Restore police patrol, response and enforcement as well as justice, order and the rule of law, including court injunctions, throughout Haldimand County regardless of one’s race or geographical location.

(2) Cease all land dispute negotiations and related actions until extortion, and illegal occupations and protests are terminated.

(3) Budget and publicly set timelines and deadlines to continue to resolve legitimate land disputes expeditiously within a climate of openness, mutual respect, and justice for all affected.
(4) Compensate individuals, businesses and the municipality for loss, insecurity, economic decline, and any other collateral damage stemming from provincial and federal decisions and policy, or lack thereof, that have eroded peace, order and good government in Haldimand County and beyond.

Draft #1 Respectfully submitted, Toby Barrett, MPP Haldimand-Norfolk — February 11, 2008

You can contact Toby Barrett at

I can't say it enough that this is your opportunity to be Heard!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Haldimand "Should We Foot the Bill"

.............Update Wednesday February 13th, 2008......................

The following is an article written by Karen Best of the Dunnville Chroncile, dated Wednesday February 13th, 2008;

A bylaw protecting council members while acting in an official capacity will save a councillor legal costs. Haldimand County taxpayers will pay legal fees incurred by Coun. Buck Sloat when he answers to an assault charge in an Ontario court.

Under a bylaw passed by county council in 2002, council members, county employees and board members will be indemnified for actions or omissions made while acting in good faith on behalf of the county. After Sloat notified him about the legal matter, chief administrative officer Don Boyle forwarded the request for coverage of legal fees to the county solicitor. In turn, the lawyer provided an opinion that stated this case fell under the bylaw and legal fees should be covered by the municipality.

The incident occurred during a break in a council committee meeting on county property while Sloat was fulfilling his role as a representative of the public, said Boyle. As such, his fees will be paid by the county.

In January, a justice of the peace charged Sloat with assault after Jeff Parkinson requested a charge be laid. The Delhi resident alleged Sloat grabbed his shoulder, pulled out his recording device out of his pocket and dropped it to the ground. This incident has not yet gone before a court of law.

Council did discuss paying Sloat's legal fees in a closed session where there was lots of discussion but no vote could be taken, said Boyle. The bylaw superseded any vote but there was a consensus of council in support of payment, he added.When Mayor Marie Trainer asked for coverage of her legal fees in 2005, council reviewed the circumstances at that time and felt she did not act in good faith or in the best interests of the county, said Boyle.As a result, her request did not fit into the bylaw, he added.

Hind sight is 20/20 and it's unfortunate how that played out, but now council needs to move forward and support these individuals, said Boyle.

Trainer hired a lawyer after her former administrative assistant complained about harassment in the workplace in 2003 and 2004. Council paid for the assistant's legal fees but not the mayor's.After receiving a consultant report on the incident, council decided the Mayor did harass her assistant.

Boyle said the legal opinion on Sloat's situation made sense. Life in public office and in the public realm is not always easy and the municipality should stand behind people who are doing their best in those roles, he said.Sloat appeared in court on Feb. 6 and his case was held over to March 5 to set a trial date.

A few interesting points that Karen made here. The first and most obvious is that "council did" in fact have "lots of discussion" of this issue "behind closed closed doors". The second is that Dan Boyle himself stated that the "consensus" of council was in support of the payment on Sloat's behalf. I do believe that the term for a consensus behind closed doors is "drawing straws". The third was that this bylaw 235/02 "supersedes "any" vote by council.

Isn't it amazing that Councillor Sloat according to council and the CAO of Haldimand County was "acting in good faith", and yet the Mayor was "not" "acting in good faith" in August of 2005. Regardless, the Mayor's charge was of an "internal" one at the time that council "voted" against paying her lawyers fees, the alleged charge against Sloat is a "criminal charge". A vote actually by the words of the CAO of Haldimand County cannot take place! The employee that laid the "alleged harassment" charge against the Mayor "was" indeed covered under this bylaw 235/02 long before the employee even went further with a court case.

It is interesting when I picked up the minutes of the February 4th, 2008 Council Meeting, there is no reference to a "Disclosure of Pecuniary Interest" by Councillor Sloat. According to the minutes Councillor Sloat was in fact in the "closed session" when this was being discussed in length. According to the "public" minutes of that meeting, it was Councillor Sloat that moved to adjourn the meeting.

Maybe the Mayor needs to demand that she be paid for her lawyers fees as it seems the county was wrong in the fact that they cannot supersede their own bylaws. But if I am not mistaken it was the County Lawyer that advised Council on this issue. But does that make it "legal"? Now in saying that, I would hope to God that Council knows that they cannot supersede their own bylaws!

Could this be Haldimand County's first "investigation" into Closed Door Meetings?

...............Update Wednesday February 13th, 2008........................

On January 9, 2008 Councillor Buck Sloat was charged with assault as a result of a private complaint filed against the Councillor. The charge stems from an allegation that Councillor Sloat assaulted an individual at the County Offices while on a break from a Council meeting in August, 2007.

On January 31, 2008 Councillor Sloat notified the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) that he would be seeking legal assistance from the County Solicitor as the charge was as a direct result of him carrying out County business in good faith. The CAO informed the County Solicitor of the Councillors notification and requested an opinion as to whether it was appropriate for the County to cover the legal representation.

It was decided that legal representation should be provided based on By-law No. 235/02, being a by-law to provide for the legal indemnification of Employees, Councillors or Members of Local Boards of Haldimand County. The by-law applies to any act or omission alleged to have occurred on or after January 1, 2001. The purpose of the by-law is to indemnify and save harmless Employees, Councillors or Members of Local Boards, in respect of acts or omissions done or made by these individuals, in good faith, in his or her capacity, including acting in the performance of any statutory duty on behalf of the County.

County Council’s decision in 2002 to pass By-law 235/02 ensured that public servants, exercising their duties in good faith, would be protected from personal and financial risk from claims and actions with respect to matters arising out of County business. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, please contact Don Boyle, Chief Administrative Officer, 905-318-5932 Ext. 220.

..................Update Monday February 11th, 2008................

I attended the council meeting today to hear Toby Barrett speak to Council regarding Land Claims issues, while we were waiting a few of us were having a very interesting conversation regarding this article. Now according to Councillor Grice I was wrong in stating that Council even needed to vote on whether Councillor Sloat would be represented by the County Lawyer or not.

Apparently By law #235/02 that came into effect in 2002 basically states that employees and Council members are covered for the use of the County Lawyer. I did have this document in my hands but I gave it to someone to look into for me.

Now to tell you the truth I am quite confused here. As I stated in my article, Council voted 6-0 to "Not" cover Mayer Trainers Lawyer in the alleged harassment case. So in order to do that one, Council would have had to "repeal" this By law #235/02.

I have sent Councillor Grice an e-mail asking for clarification on this information. I will up date you when I receive an answer.

At the Council meeting February 4th, 2008, council voted 6-0 in favour of having the County Lawyer represent Councillor Buck Sloat. Councillor Sloat appeared in the Cayuga Courthouse Wednesday February 6th, 2008, with the County Lawyer and Councillor Grice at his side.

To this date there has been no open vote or resolution/motion stating that this even took place. So here we go once again......."Behind Closed Doors"........

I am sure by now that some are saying, my god Donna you certainly have a problem with "closed door meetings"! You would be right on the money on that one!

I don't really have a problem with a member of council being represented by the county lawyer if in fact the problem is of an "official" Haldimand County Matter. But when a council member is charged under the Criminal Code, that is a whole new ball game!

Let's take a little walk down history lane. Let's revisit the Mayor's internal investigation regarding alleged harassment. This was never a "court case", this was a case of council voting to spend $25,000.00 dollars on a consultant, and voting 6-0 against the county lawyer representing the Mayor. Mayor Trainer paid her own bill!

So you may ask what is so different about this case with Councillor Sloat? Well when you find the answer please let me know because I am sure interested in the logic of this council!

My understanding is that unless an item is in the budget or is voted on by council as a resolution/motion, it is actually illegal for the County to spend our money. As this is not a budgeted item, and there is no resolution/motion is this legal? Again if you have the answer I am very interested to hear it. This money for the County Lawyer will come out of what is called the "emergency fund".

Maybe this is just an example of a "two tiered" Council. Or maybe this is a case of what's good for the goose is "not" good for the gander. Regardless of what it is, we will all have our own opinion on this matter.

Haldimand "Toby Barrett & David Crombie"

A few meetings coming up this week that you may be interested in coming to.

Toby Barrett will be coming to the Haldimand County Council Meeting on Monday February 11th, 2008 at 4:00pm. The meeting will be held in the council chambers. Haldimand County invited Toby back in December to appear as a delegate to speak on the issues of Land Claims in Haldimand County. This meeting is open to the public.

David Crombie will be holding a Town Hall meeting Wednesday February 13th, 2008 at 7:00pm. The meeting will be held in the council chambers as well. This will be David Crombie's second town hall meeting, the first one took place back in November of 2007. Updates on the progress of the Land Claims will be discussed. This meeting is open to the public.

Both of these meetings are well worth attending, I encourage you to come out and get the up to date information first hand!

Haldimand "What is Your say on the Recovery Package"

You may agree or disagree with Jason Clark and Haldimand County, and I certainly don’t believe that any of us want to look a "gift horse" in the mouth, but once again the "process" in my opinion was wrong. I don’t understand why Haldimand County decided to do all of this "behind closed doors". It seems that this process should have been done in the open for all to see, maybe even via a "public meeting". What did the County use as a reason for doing this business behind closed doors? This document is very similar to the process of the County Budget, yet this is done in the open.

The following information is a short breakdown of the Recovery Package that Haldimand County has sent off to both upper levels of government in December of 2007. As you can see, this document is still marked Private and Confidential. You can view the complete document here;

I have also attached an e-mail from Jason Clark of Caledonia that he wanted distributed to as many residents in Haldimand County as possible.

The contact e-mail addresses are at the bottom, so if you want to "voice" your opinion you now have a choice.

Haldimand County
Private and Confidential
Report CAO-09-2007
Haldimand County Recovery Projects Plan

Objective; To seek Council approval of the Haldimand County Recovery Projects Plan related to the impacts of Land Claims Issues, which will be forwarded to the Federal and Provincial governments, soliciting financial assistance in undertaking these initiatives.

Nanticoke Area Infrastructure Upgrades; $20 million dollars

Community Servicing Capacity Initiatives; $29.1 million dollars
The above dollar amount includes the following areas, Hagersville, Dunnville, Cayuga and Caledonia.

Lafortune Park Educational Interpretive and Research Centre and Retreat; Unknown dollar amount at this time.

Downtown Improvements;
Dunnville decorative lighting; $250,000.00 dollars
Queen Lock channelization Project; $635,000.00 dollars
Talbot Street (Cayuga) roads and watermains; $1.4 million dollars
Main St. West Dunnville, roads; $600,000.00 dollars
Completing the resurfacing of Lakeshore Rd; $900,000.00 dollars

The above is a short breakdown, please read the whole report it is quite interesting.

From: Jason Clark
To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2008 5:03 PM
Subject: Fw: County Recovery Plan Projects.pdf

Hello Everyone, as many of you know, I am a member of the Caledonia Citizens Alliance along with a group of about ten others. Basically, what we do at this point is (other than yell at each other out of pure frustration) to stay close to the situation by keeping the various levels of government aware that any decisions made relative to the DCE property need to be in the best interest of Caledonia. As you may have read in the local papers recently, the County created a "Request for Assistance" months ago and submitted it to the Province.

Unfortunately, the County felt it necessary to conduct all of their meetings pertaining to this request behind closed doors. Fortunately, the Province realized this and forced the County to make the documents public citing that it would make no sense for them to reward us with financial assistance without proper disclosure to the public.

Essentially, the Province wanted to make sure that the residents of Haldimand County were in agreement with the request. I have attached the official County Recovery Plan document, as you will see, there is very little for Caledonia in the request.

Unfortunately, the Councillors from outside our community saw an opportunity to make gains in their respective backyards on the "back" of our problems. Obviously Caledonia hasn't been the only community impacted from the events of the past two years but it certainly has been impacted the most. The Province has made us aware that what they're waiting for is a response from the public now that the request is out in the open. If they don't hear anything, they will assume people agree with it.

At the bottom of this message I am adding the email addresses of the pertinent people from the Provincial Government. This is a rare opportunity to send a letter to the Provincial Government knowing that it will likely be read.

I'm sure that most of you will agree with me that a $250,000 request for decorative lighting in Dunnville has very little to do with the events of the past two years. If I'm not mistaken, we raised all or part of the money for the decorative lighting we have in Caledonia.

Feel free to forward this message on to anyone who would be interested in sending an email to the individuals below.

Murray Coolican,
Michael Bryant,
Chris Maher,
David Crombie,

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Haldimand "Does Your Local Councillor Even give a Damn?"

Well the title says it all!

I am really beginning to wonder what goes through the mind of a Haldimand County Councillor.

We hear on a regular basis that Haldimand doesn't receive it's fair share from upper levels of government. We constantly hear from our local members of Council, that they in fact work hard and do what they can for us. But is this really the "truth"?.

Last month I posted an "On-Line Petition" to the Legislature of Ontario regarding the unfair distribution of the Provincial Gas Tax. I spent many many hours e-mailing "all" Mayors in Ontario asking for their assistance. I received an interesting response back from the Mayor of Oshawa, that basically said "we already receive the gas tax, and we certainly don't want to share it with you"!

Mayor Marie Trainer has sent this to everyone she knows, as well as "ALL MEMBERS OF HALDIMAND COUNTY COUNCIL", in fact she has sent this to her fellow council members more then once. To this date the only person on Haldimand County Council that has signed the on-line petition is Mayor Trainer! Thanks Marie!

So I would ask this......why are the other "6" hard working dedicated council members not signing this petition? Could some of the following be their excuse?.......I am extremely busy........I have not read my e-mails from the Mayor..........I know signing won't make a difference.....It's okay our residents can afford to pay higher taxes to pave their roads............I don't give a damn!!!

I can understand if the individual taxpayer in Haldimand or any other Municipality in Ontario doesn't give a damn, but our elected officials should "give a damn" on our behalf!

The following is the on-line petition if you are interested in making a difference, you just need to click onto the link at the bottom and you can sign the petition. It takes about "2" minutes in total!

To: The Legislature of Ontario

Whereas; The Province of Ontario currently receives 14.7 cents from every litre of Gas sold in the Province;

Whereas; The Province of Ontario currently allocates these funds for roads, bridges and transit;

Whereas; Not all Municipalities in Ontario have public transit;

Whereas; All Municipalities in Ontario however have roads and bridges in grave need of repair, and many Municipalities are under great financial burden do to the lack of funding;

Whereas; There are "445" Municipalities in the Province of Ontario, currently only "108" Municipalities receive gas tax funding from the Province of Ontario;

We the undersigned petition our Provincially Elected Legislators in Ontario to commence a Public Hearing into the collection and disbursement of the Provincial Gas Tax in fairness to "all" Municipalities of Ontario. Sincerely,