As A Key Player Identified In The Report, Doesn’t Chair Caslin Have A Conflict Of Interest?
A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper
Posted July 26th, 2018 on Niagara At Large
Niagara, Ontario – A full week has now passed since the release of a 60-page report by Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé – a report that documents, in detail, the singular role that our Niagara regional government played last December 7th in seizing the electronic equipment and notes from a St. Catharines Standard reporter and citizen blogger, then ordering them off municipal property, was unwarranted, illegal and a violation of the constitutional rights of news representatives to perform their role as a watchdog for the public in a democracy.
Among many other findings, the Ombudsman’s lengthy investigation determined that Niagara Regional Chair Al Caslin and the Region’s CAO Carmen D’Angelo were among those who played lead roles in causing this unconscionable and unjust episode to unfold.
Within a matter of one hour and 20 minutes following the posting of this commentary, Niagara’s regional council is scheduled to meet to discuss how the Region should respond to the findings and recommendations in the Ombudsman’s report.
One of the many questions we at Niagara At Large have is this.
Will Niagara Regional Chair Al Caslin do what he failed to do at a council meeting three weeks ago when a discussion over alleged irregularities over the hiring two years ago of CAO D’Angelo took place, and recuse himself from the discussion?
One would think that as a member of the regional council who has been identified as a key player in the Ombudsman’s report, Caslin should immediately declare a conflict of interest and remove himself from the discussion. And if he doesn’t, other members of council should have the guts to put their hands up and insist that he does.
Aiming its recommendations, the Ombudsman calls on the Region to publicly apologies to Standard reporter Bill Sawchuk and his newspaper, and to citizen blogger Preston Haskell for the inexcusable way they were treated on the evening of December 7th.
Niagara At Large is going further and insisting that a simple apology is not enough given the assault these individuals played a role in committing on a free press that is recognized in Canada’s Constitution as a pillar of democracy.
At the very least, the regional council should censure Al Caslin for his part in this dark affair and the council should go further and respect a call from growing numbers of Niagara citizen over the past week for the immediate resignations of both Caslin and D’Angelo.
Our Niagara region would be better off without them in public office!
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