"Cowardice asks the question...is it safe? Expediency asks the question...is it politic? Vanity asks the question...is it popular? But conscience asks the question...is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because it is right." ~Dr. Martin Luther King

Monday, 12 January 2015

Reading is a Political Imperative

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Code of Conduct 2":

Is it just mayors from relatively small places ? I imagine there would be a howl if the Mayor of TO held such an event. Look at the fuss about Ford's

Posted by Anonymous to Our Town and Its Business at 12 January 2015 at 09:39


The comment highlights  a peculiar aspect of Code,of Conduct legislation.

It is not mandatory, it is permissive. Meaning   a municipality may or may not adopt a Code of Conduct.

An Integrity Commissioner may or may not be appointed.

Complaints  can not be processed without an I.C.

A Council  can write it's own Code leaving out or putting in whatever they choose.

From experience in Aurora,  an Integrity Commissioner can be fired for not following instructions of Council about how  he will proceed.

On top of that, the Code of Conduct Bylaw cannot be enforced.

No  criminal charges can be laid under the Bylaw.

No penalties imposed. Ergo...no enforcement.

The Bylaw itself is not a mechanism to ensure a desirable level of  purity in politics.

A politician may be trusted to exercise high

 standards of integrity ....or not.

A politician may be possessed of good judgement....or not.

No Code  of Conduct will make the difference.

Aurora's Code requires Councillors to read the document. And having read it,can the Code compel understanding?

I've read the Codes of Newmarket and Richmond Hill.

The Newmarket Code refers to Section  1 and 11 of the Public Inquiries Act for Authority of the  Commissioner .

Newmarket  Code states the Town will retain an Integrity Commissioner.

The town did not.

Richmond Hill refer to  Section 23 of the  Municipal Act for the Commissioner's authority.

Richmond Hill states a complaint can be filed by a Council .

There is no provision  in the Act  to allow a Council to file a complaint.

All  Codes specify the Integrity Commissioner will receive the complaint and decide whether there  will be  an investigation.

Newmarket does not have an Integrity Commissioner.

The CAO  has no role in the process  The Clerk has the solitary role of conduit.

No person stands between the Integrity Commissioner and.complainant.

Except. In Aurora where Council was complainant and made the rules about how the complaint would be handled. They fired the KC for not doing what they wanted.,

Newmarket's CAO is quoted in the press that there will be an investigation.

I read the reference  to the Public Inquiries Act Newmarkett's Code and the  Section   of the Municipal Act  in the Richmond. Hill  Code.

It takes more than reading to understand how a law gets implemented or interpreted .

Consistency is a large part of English Common Law.

I do not claim  authority.

I do believe however  a  Councillor (legislator) has more than passing responsibility to understand  ramifications of a  Bylaw prior to a vote to adopt.

When every Tom Dick and Jane is  provided with opportunity to destroy a reputation it only makes sense.

Using public office to promote a Golf Tournament or any  other charitable fund-raisers may seem like too good an advantage to miss.

It begs the question of why and who are willing to donate ?

What do they expect and  get in return?

Why would a politician put him or herself  into a position of obligation?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These donations to charitable or non-profit organizations are big business, throw in some unions and elections have been won and lost with these so called events. Remember only 1/3 of the electorate votes.