Integrity Commissioners – the new kids on the block by Tom Black

Tom BlackI recently attended a council meeting for South Stormont Municipality to observe the goings on in this mostly rural Ontario community bordered on the east by the St. Lawrence River. With many new homes popping up along that shore, this community appears to be in ‘boom mode’, with a beautiful new Town Hall and according to their own numbers displayed on May 14, 2014, they have pretty much finished upgrading roads and are working on the drainage. All this within budget and surplus left over. What a great success story in this day and age!! I congratulate them on this achievement.

The hall that night was packed to overflowing, but they were not there to hear about all these successes! Many were there to support the Deputy Mayor, Tammy Hart who hails from a dairy farm near Finch. Tammy has been a part of the Ontario Landowners Association for many years, and eventually decided to get into Municipal politics to do her part to make her local society a better place to live and pass on to the future generations. The problem is, Tammy is very outspoken when defending the tax dollars of her constituents and that has put her at odds with the mayor and members of the council. All of this is really quite normal and what we expect from the democratic process, so where is the story?

Well the great ‘all knowing’ McGuinty government back in 2006, decided it should create an integrity commissioner to settle disputes arising in municipal governments in Ontario. Of the 440 municipalities in Ontario, less than 50 have called for help to settle disputes.

It seems to me that a council that would call in an Integrity Commissioner to slap one of their own council members, have a collective lack of backbone and feel that getting down and dirty in the trenches is above them. This is the typical school yard squabble where this new generation has been brainwashed to run and tattle to the teacher, because someone pushed someone. Where are the Canadians who built this country? The ones who when pushed, pushed back, fighting their own battles and in the process, standing up for everyone else. The fact that the government created such an office to quiet the democratically elected, only goes to show their intention to remove the real voice of the electorate. Then we wonder why good people don’t put their name into the ring. Soon this “let’s all be happy and agree” concept will have reduced democracy to its lowest common denominator – someone who will accept the direction taken by the mob mentality and follow the rest of the lemmings over the cliff and into the sea.