Two St. Catharines Regional Councillors Who Have Stood Tall For Their Constituents In The Face Of Caslin’s Cabal

A Brief News Commentary by Doug Draper

Posted August 31st, 2018 on Niagara At Large

St Catharines regional councillor Kelly Edgar, left, and fellow St. Catharines regional councillor Brian Heit

Wnen we received the good news this August 30th that the Ontario Ombudsman has agreed to come in and investigate serious questions around the hiring of Niagara Region’s CAO Carmen D’Angelo, two regional councillors that had a great deal to do with getting us to that good moment were not available for comment when we posted our first story on this news.

Those two councillors, both representing St. Catharines on the Region’s council, are Kelly Edgar and Brian Heit, and here are their responses to that news now, starting with one from Kelly Edgar – 

St. Catharines regional councillor Kelly Edgar

“I am very pleased that the Ontario Ombudsman has accepted our request to do this investigation – at long last!” said Kelly Edgar in a statement he shared with Niagara At Large.

“I must also add that the 113 or more citizens that lodged complaints with the Ombudsman’s office to get this done should be very happy as well,” Edgar added. “Without their activism and support, who knows whether this investigation would ever have been done?”

“Thank you to all those who chose to help us. You’re the best!”

Best regards, Kelly Edgar

In a separate statement, St. Catharines regional councillor Brian Heit shared the following response with Niagara At Large –

St. Catharines regional councillor Brian Heit

“Unfortunately months ago, (the Region’s) Council made a mistake hoping that giving the Ombudsman power to Mr. Huberman (a lawyer from Toronto) would have worked, but as we have become aware, he didn’t use the power Council gave him,” said Brian Heit.

“Some of what we have been learning from the Standard’s reporting are some of the same rumours that were prevalent prior to the selection of the CAO.”

“Now with the Ontario Ombudsman handling the investigation,” added Heit, “we will finally get to the bottom of the controversy created by Chair Caslin and his office. I trust Council will have the courage to act accordingly when the  investigation is completed.”

  • Brian”

Now, this journalist and long-time region watcher wishes to leave you here with just a few words about these two regional councillors and the reason why they deserve your support in the upcoming municipal elections.

When it comes to standing up against the dark, divisive, bully boy conduct that polluted this Caslin-led term of regional council over the past four years, Kelly Edgar and Brian Heit are among a handful of those on the council who have shown the most courage to do just that.

Edgar and Heit were among only eight on the Region’s council, including fellow St. Catharines regional councillor Debbie McGregor, Thorold regional councillor Henry D’Angela, Thorold Mayor Ted Luciani, Pelham Mayor Dave Augustyn, Welland regional councillor George Marshall and Lincoln regional councillor Bill  Hodgson, who had the presence of mind two years ago to review the record that was already there about Carmen D’Angelo as CAO of the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA), and vote against hiring D’Angelo for the Region’s CAO job.

The screen shows the recorded vote in October of 2016 of those on Niagara Region’s council who voted for and against hiring Carmen D’Angelo to the Region’s CAO job. As you can see, Kelly Edgar and Brian Heit were among the brave few who voted “No” to hiring him.

For their trouble, Edgar and Heit were sued by a private consultant for allegedly circulating some information to their fellow councillors before the vote about D’Angelo and his record at the NPCA. The consultant charged that the information contained references to his firm that were defamatory. The lawsuit was eventually dropped – just as a similar suit filed by the same party against St. Catharines citizen activist Ed Smith was dismissed by an Ontario court judge with the past year.

Edgar and Heit have continued to speak out each and every time they believed the actions of Caslin’s cabal were not in the best interests of the people of St. Catharines and Niagara. And they were among the all too few members of the Region’s council that led the call to get Ontario’s Ombudsman to conduct a truly independent investigation of the circumstances surrounding the hiring of D’Angelo and the extension of his contract by Caslin.

There are a total of 22 candidates, including Edgar and Heit, running for the six St. Catharines seats on Niagara Region’s council. And due to the public upset and anger over the record of this Caslin-led regional council, it is looking like people across Niagara are going to the polls this coming October 22nd with an understandable aim to vote for sweeping change.

It is very important to remember though that there are some people now serving on the Region’s council who have truly put the interests of the public first and deserve to be re-elected.

Among them are Kelly Edgar and Brian Heit, and Niagara At Large will continue to remind voters of their good efforts, and those of all too few others on that council who deserve your support in the weeks leading up to the October 22nd vote.

  • Doug Draper, reporter and publisher, Niagara At Large

To read the story Niagara At Large posted this August 30th, on the Ontario Ombudsman’s decision to conduct an investigation, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2018/08/30/ontarios-ombudsman-says-yes-to-flood-of-calls-for-an-investigation-into-cao-hiring-controversy-at-niagara-region/ .

To read a story Niagara At Large posted in January 2017 on the lawsuit filed against St. Catharines regional councillors Kelly Edgar and Brian Heit for doing what they felt was right for their constituents, click on – https://niagaraatlarge.com/2017/01/25/two-niagara-regional-councillors-brian-heit-kelly-edgar-sued-as-controversies-continue-to-swirl-around-npca-2/

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space following the Bernie Sanders quote below.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater bi-national Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

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

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5 responses to “Two St. Catharines Regional Councillors Who Have Stood Tall For Their Constituents In The Face Of Caslin’s Cabal

  1. Thanks Doug! I’m almost blushing… But really, thank you, I very much appreciate your kind words and support!

    Best regards,

    Kelly Edgar

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Doug for remaining undaunted and for reminding people how Councillors Edgar and Heit took a stand for what they rightly believed was in the best interests of the people of their own constituency and the Region. Little did they know they would then experience the anxiety of a lawsuit hanging over them for months, as did Ed Smith!
    Could any of us ever have imagined such vindictive retaliation against people whose principles and ethics motivated them to act as they did.
    Everyone heading to the polls in October should remember what was also done to Bill Hodgson.
    Three honourable men who must be remembered and appreciated. Although Bill is not seeking re-election, I hope people in St Catharines will remember Edgar and Heit when they go to the polls in October.
    As much as we are all recognizing the need for “change” we should also remember the need for a balanced of integrity and ethics to maintain balance and experience to assist and support new Councillors.

    Like

  3. Thanks for your kind words in yesterdays article. Your continued coverage of Chair Caslin and the Cabal’s antics is welcomed while also providing encouragement to those of us that value democracy and respect the taxpayer.

    Regards
    Brian Heit
    .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The reporting about the politicians at the Region has been most informative and a worthwhile service to the broader community. While I could figure out some of the undesirable characters, as there actions, as reported, spoke for themselves. However, it is articles such as this that help point out the positive players. Something pointing out the obstructionists – or worse – would also help me be better informed regarding the various players.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As a St. Catharines resident, I find that having 22 candidates and 6 choices daunting. Heit and Kelly are men of great integrity and valour. Of course one should plump your vote. However there are some young bloods to consider, Mo Al-Jumaily and Haley Bateman, both of whom have been inspirational at Regional Council.

    Choices to be made.

    The Big Blue Signs are already out for wanabees Britton and Bellows. There is a lot of money behind those signs, I am reliably told. Same Big Blue machine that backed Caslin, Timms, Petrowski before. BIg money.

    Just noting.

    Liked by 1 person

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