Ontario Ombudsman To Investigate Incident At Niagara Regional Council Meeting

Probe Launched Over Seizure of Standard Reporter’s Computer, Notes, and his Expulsion from Regional Headquarters Building

News from the Office of Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé

Posted December 15th, 2017 on Niagara At Large

Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube launches probe on Niagara regional government over seizure of reporter’s computer, notes

(A Brief Foreword Note from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper – I was relieved to read and am pleased to post the following news release from the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office on the disgusting treatment a member of the mainstream media received this past December 7th, at the hands of the thugs now running our Niagara regional government.

I will be posting my own editorial on this grotesque and unconscionable violation of the constitutional rights of the media in our democracy in the hours ahead on Niagara At Large.

Stay Tuned.)

From the Ontario Ombudsman’s Office –

This December 14th, 2017, Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé informed the Regional Municipality of Niagara that he will conduct a formal investigation into an incident at a council meeting on December 7, when a journalist and a citizen blogger were reportedly asked to leave the premises and had their property seized.

Veteran St. Catharines Standard reporter Bill Suachuck, at right, being ordered out of Niagara’s regional government headquarters after his notes and computer were seized. Photo by Emily Beth

(TORONTO – December 14, 2017) Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé today informed the Regional Municipality of Niagara that he will conduct a formal investigation into an incident at a council meeting on December 7, when a journalist and a citizen blogger were reportedly asked to leave the premises and had their property seized.
“This matter has raised serious concerns about the actions and processes of the municipality, and has understandably drawn high public interest,” said Mr. Dubé, whose office received several complaints related to the incident.

The investigation will be conducted by the Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT), which has handled scores of large-scale investigations into issues affecting millions of Ontarians. The team will begin its work – including interviewing the relevant parties and reviewing documentation – immediately, Mr. Dubé said. In addition to the general issues raised, the investigation will also consider whether the meeting violated the open meeting requirements of the Municipal Act, 2001.

The Ombudsman is an independent officer of the Ontario legislature who resolves and investigates some 20,000 public complaints per year about provincial government bodies, municipalities, universities and school boards. Most complaints are resolved without need for formal investigation: Of the more than 5,800 complaints received about municipalities since the Ombudsman’s mandate was extended to include them in 2016, this is the fifth to become a formal investigation.

Anyone who has specific information related to the matter under investigation is invited to contact the Ombudsman’s Office via the confidential complaint form at www.ombudsman.on.ca , or by calling 1-800-263-1830.

The investigation will be completed as quickly as possible, Mr. Dubé said.

Under the Ombudsman Act, he may find the actions of a public sector body to be (among other things) contrary to law, unreasonable, unjust, oppressive, improperly discriminatory or wrong – and make recommendations for improvement. Although the Ombudsman’s recommendations are not binding, they are almost always accepted and implemented, and have resulted in broad government reforms.

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 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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One response to “Ontario Ombudsman To Investigate Incident At Niagara Regional Council Meeting

  1. In my opinion Fort Erie Regional Councilor Sandy Annunziata’s statements regarding the recording device (and his discovery of it hidden under a hat) were manufactured by him to make him appear a hero. The owner of the device had left the council chamber to visit the washroom and had left the device on top of his scarf and hat. That councilors had decided to go into closed session was unknown to him.
    Councilor Annunziata should be required to retract his statements and supply a written apology to both people (to the owner of the recording device he claimed he found under a hat and to Standard reporter Bill Sawchuk).

    Like

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