Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty

 In Letters, Opinion

Clearview Township Councillor John Broderick authored a motion to allow ATVs on all Clearview Township roads. He also owns an ATV dealer in Stayner. This is a conflict of interest. A conflict of interest is an abuse of power. A definition of conflict of interest is provided here: “A situation in which a person is in a position to derive personal benefit from actions or decisions made in their official capacity.”

During the council meeting Monday night, the Deputy Mayor asked Mr. Broderick if he wished to declare a conflict of interest. Mr. Broderick declined so, and further suggested the Township Integrity Commissioner had already approved his denial of a conflict. This exchange occurred at 2:27:37 in the video posted on YouTube. (Google: Clearview Township – YouTube) I watched this in disbelief.

What is a Township Integrity Commissioner? What factors do they decide? Can we review their analysis? What informed their decision in this case? To be fair, few things are clear and unambiguous anymore. But, the guy who owns the ATV dealer, arguing for unlimited ATV rights in the township, with the potential for his financial gain, while a councillor in a position of trust and authority, seems pretty close to clear and unambiguous. Those lines converged faster than a Polaris Sportsman 850 ATV – (currently in-stock and available at J&R Cycle in Stayner.)
Some people make fun of third world countries who behave this way, myself included. Turns out, we can look in the mirror – or on our computer screen. You need only an internet connection to watch Clearview Township Council failing fundamental fairness because a “Township Integrity Commissioner” approved so. Maybe the Integrity Commissioner sufficiently followed the statute. Maybe he or she is as appalled as I am.

What law governs the Integrity Commissioner? I gave up researching the Members’ Integrity Act, 1994, S.O. 1994, c. 38 and reviewing Section 5 of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.50 when I realized; the result speaks for the process. “Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it’s going to be bad for the pitcher.” (Man of La Mancha) We know the facts. And we know what the Integrity Commissioner decided. Anything more to know… I’d like to know.

According to the township website, we can request an inquiry by the Integrity Commissioner by filing a complaint. However, Mr. Broderick allegedly received pre-approval from the Integrity Commissioner before the council meeting Monday night. This was clever actually. Now, the motion has already passed. Could any change be affected by filing a complaint after the vote
Notwithstanding whether township residents support, or oppose, the ATV motion, we all need to relentlessly demand good government. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” (Thomas Jefferson). I’m confident I’m not the only one watching.

Mr. Broderick should have declared a conflict of interest and been denied any ability to take part in the discussion or influence the vote. Instead, the opposite occurred. The Fox aggressively argued for the right to guard the Henhouse – and won. No one was blowing the whistle because the Township Integrity Commissioner said it was okay. So, who’s going to protect us from the Integrity Commissioner? We know who’s not. Watch the video.

Andrew Shapack, Creemore

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