THE DEMOCRATIC REPORTER
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
|Scanned copy, if there are errors, please e-mail me with corrections: |
Opening comments: More comments at the end.
Here we see Hazel's true face, the one that wants to hide from the truth, revealed by making public City of Mississauga official records. It is classic Hazel for her to wrongly portray her and the City as the victims when in fact she and her staff are the bullies. Doing what bullies do best, not telling the truth and blaming the victim for the trouble she created.
This article is all too typical for the kind of reporting done by "Missing News", the idea that democracy requires transparency of government to ensure accountability to the voters and taxpayers, is lost on them. It just becomes a chance for the Mayor to say boo hoo poor us, without giving the other side of the story. It is written in a subtle way of turning public opinion against me, at a personal level. The Mayor and the "Missing News" comments are often personal in nature about me, rarely do they deal with the issues, another McCallion method. Then they turn around and accuse me of taking things personally. Again what bullies do, blame the victim for what they are doing. Like calling the other person a witch or communist or criminal or what ever to get listening people so worked up they don't think. Just act emotionally and then the victim has to waste time proving their innocence, then trying to reason things back to the issues. And who is going to stand up (besides me), to a little old lady - grandmother Mayor?
Page - - Mississauga News, Apr. 5/95
Inquiries under Freedom of Information Act wasting time and money,
Nobody's in control of the Freedom of information (FOI) Act, says Mayor Hazel McCallion.
"You can't imagine the amount of time and cost that comes from people asking for what, in my opinion, is a ridiculous amount of data on certain things" the mayor recently told city council. [ 1 ]
"The biggest problem is that nobody has the right to decide if the requests are frivolous or vexatious. It's costing an arm and a leg and often the person asking for the information isn't willing to pay for it." [ 2 ]
Neither the local staff in the clerk's department, who deal with the requests, nor the provincial commissioner has the authority to refuse to deal with a request, even though it may be frivolous, McCallion complained.
Joan LeFeuvre, Mississauga's FOI commissioner, says the number of requests has grown substantially since the legislation came into effect in 1991. From 20 the first year, the number climbed to 256 last year. [ 3 ]
Although the majority of requests are for architectural drawings, personal information or routine matters which may not require FOI applications, a few applications are incredibly time-consuming, said LeFeuvre. [ 7 ]
"The biggest problem we deal with is the bulk requester. That's the individual who decides to make it his or her business to make nothing but requests." [ 4 ]
Not surprisingly, those making the requests often have a different perspective. Donald Barber, who is interested in the issue of the Cawthra Bush, made applications last year to try to get as much background as possible about the decision to cut trees in the bush.
He complained during the election campaign, in which he ran for mayor, that he was denied access to information. Barber also complained about the cost charged to him. [ 5 ]
For requests that take longer than two hours to prepare, the municipality can charge $30 an hour. It also can charge 20 cents a page for photocopying. The City can ask for a deposit of 50 per cent for charges over $50, but LeFeuvre said that means most of the work must already be done simply to provide an accurate estimate.
There is an appeal process over the cost which is very lengthy, although it's been tightened up recently.
The FOI Act is being used for purposes for which it was not intended, said LeFeuvre. There is a "distinct possibility" that some people are acquiring information for commercial purposes, for instance.
Mississauga and other municipalities would like to see a number of changes to the legislation. A 1994 provincial review provided a long list of recommendations, but no action has been taken by the government. [ 6 ]
[COMMENTS BY DON B. - I set out to win greater freedoms for all Canadians but Hazel put her curse on me and every Canadian had some of their human rights removed. Just so Hazel could keep her secrets from the light of day. If I had the same amount of taxpayers money as she spends keeping lawfully requested records from the taxpayers, then not only would the truth have gotten out a long time ago but Canada would be a freer and more democratic place. So much for equality and the law.
[ 1 ] - Taxpayers are adults, why not tells us the costs? Unless the Mayor is afraid Mississaugans/Canadians would see it as the cost of keeping politicians and their staff honest and well worth it. Her statement about no one in control of the FOI Act is of course a falsehood but what can you expect from a life long politician?
[ 2 ] - Here Hazel is saying how much she misses the good old days of total power over government records and being able to tell the people who elected her to go to hell if they should start to question her leadership and/or how the City's money is spent. You can bet she lobbied the government for just such power so her staff could frame those who asked too many questions.
Being able to label a requester as a "frivolous or vexatious", in order to end their requests and pursuit of the facts is a power political tool that the federal FOI commissioner has argued against as he knows it would be misused by politicians and government staff. Just like like Hazel McCallion did.
[ 4 ] - This makes no sense. Is "Joan LeFeuvre, Mississauga's FOI commissioner", (actually she is only the FOI Co-ordinator. Not surprising the local news paper is confused.), saying there are people spending their whole day making FOI requests to the City of Mississauga? Or is Ms. LeFeuvre just trying to scare us?
[ 5 ] - Yes, I set out to become as informed about an issue as I could be, after all that is the intelligent thing to do. And it was more then just trees being cut. There was the matter of the City of Mississauga misleading the province of Ontario about the logging on its land.
The "Missing News" gives lots of ink to the City's side of the story about why people should think the City is hard done by for obeying a very democratic law BUT where are the details of my side of the story? The "Missing News" was told that the Mayor and her staff unlawfully shut down the FOI Act during an election year, why is that not reported? Is the reason that people may start to question what the Mayor does? Why has the "Missing News" made a point of never reporting how the City has screwed the taxpayers who just want the truth so they can make informed decisions in their communities.
The whole reason I ran for the office of the Mayor was that Hazel did shut down the FOI Act. That was an attack on democracy itself and as the "Missing News" refused to report it, I made it an election issue. During the election the "Missing News" didn't give it the coverage it should have. If the mayor of a real city, like Mel Lastmen, ever tried to do what Hazel did, it would be front page news.
Ms. LeFeuvre makes a very interesting and odd statement - "There is a "distinct possibility" that some people are acquiring information for commercial purposes", what is that suppose to mean and who is she to say what the Act " intended"s? She has trouble enough doing what the FOI Act calls for as what the publics rights are. But then, it is what bureaucrats chose as their interpretations that causes the problems.
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