We have a code of conduct for council members. It is a breach of the code of conduct to abuse, bully or intimidate a member of the public. It is a breach of the code of conduct to maliciously or falsely injure the reputation of a member of public. It is a breach of the code of conduct to treat a member of the public inappropriately. The code of conduct is at:
There is a very clear process in Ontario law for dealing with allegations of contravention of the code of conduct. The Municipal Act allows for a municipality to hire or contract an integrity commissioner whose duty, once hired, is to investigate the allegation, and to make a finding of whether the code was breached, and to report the finding to council. Council cannot investigate or judge. But it is council’s duty to decide and apply sanctions.
I am confident that Janice Jackson has breached the code of conduct with very negative and damaging comments made on her facebook page, and in council debates, and elsewhere, about the members of a group called Friends of Sauble Beach.
At the urging of many residents who were offended by Ms. Jackson’s malicious comments, I submitted a report to council (attachment 1), in which: 1) I gave examples of Ms. Jackson’s abuse of members of the group, 2) I alleged that Ms. Jackson’s comments constituted a clear breach of our code of conduct, and, 3) I recommended that council, by resolution, contract a qualified integrity commissioner to investigate and report.
Ms. Jackson and Mr. Kirkland have found a way to completely obstruct the Municipal Act process, and to avoid consequences for even the most serious and malicious of code breaches.
Here’s how the obstruction worked:
Ms. Jackson declared a conflict, leaving it to deputy Kirkland to decide whether my August 30th report got on the September 5th agenda. Mr. Kirkland decided that my report was contrary to our code of conduct and refused to allow it on the September 5th agenda. When I phoned Mr. Kirkland and asked him to defend his decision (by providing a reason for his refusal to put my report on the agenda) he simply repeated that it was contrary to the code of conduct, and refused to provide anything further.
I probed, asking him to specify: 1) what passages in my report that he found offended the code, 2) what specific provisions (or sections) of the code were offended, and 3), how the passages constituted an offence on my part.
Mr. Kirkland, like a broken record, just kept repeating that my report was against the code and so it could not go on the agenda. Four times I asked for his justification; four times he refused to provide justification.
Because there was no valid justification. My August 30th report does not contravene the code. His refusal was nonsensical.
Mr. Kirkland’s decision was a clear and blatant abuse of process, and a clear obstruction of the intent of the Municipal Act section 223.4 . Mr. Kirkland’s interference was to protect the mayor from sanctions, and to make sure that the mayor could continue to malign the members of the group Friends of Sauble Beach with impunity.
The mayor or one of her sycophantic supporters (Jay Kirkland, Matt Jackson) can breach the code with impunity just by making sure that any complaint against them about a breach of the code of conduct does not go into any agenda for the residents to see and does not go before council and does not get investigated by an integrity commissioner.
The Ontario Legislature has recognized the flaw in the Municipal Act that allows this type of abuse and has amended the law to stop the abuse. The law as amended says that a municipality must either have an Integrity commissioner to administer the code of conduct (among other duties) or use the services of an integrity commissioner from another municipality to administer the code. The problem is that this amendment has not yet been put into effect by the Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell.
It is unfortunate that until the Municipal Act amendment does go into effect, Ms. Jackson can go on slamming those who do not agree with her, and can go on breaching the code of conduct, with complete impunity.
I have written to the Lieutenant Governor asking her to immediately put the Municipal Act amendment into force so that Ms. Jackson’s malicious attacks can be stopped. If anyone has any other idea how to stop this blatant abuse of power while we are waiting for the Municipal Act amendment to come into force, I would love to hear it.
Report Re: Council, September 5, 2017
Report No: GAMMIE 05-2017
Subject: Mayor breach of code sections 5.2, 5.4
Recommendation: That an Integrity Commissioner be hired per Municipal Act section 223.3 (1) to investigate alleged J. Jackson breaches of council code of conduct sections 5.2 and 5.4 and to recommend penalties as warranted.
Link to Strategic Planning: Goal 1: Supportive and Accountable Municipal Operations and Governance.
Background: Code of conduct section 5.2 and 5.4, abridged for relevance, are:
5.2 No member will maliciously or falsely injure or impugn the professional or
ethical reputation of any member of ….., the public or ……
5.4 Every member has the duty and responsibility to treat members of the
public, ……… without abuse, bullying [or] intimidation and ….:
Mayor Jackson has made many public attacks on the members of the group Friends of Sauble Beach. Some examples are in Attachment “A”.
These attacks in my view maliciously and falsely impugn and injure the reputations of all members of Friends. The attacks in my view are also inappropriate and abusive and bullying and intimidation. The attacks in my view were made for an improper purpose.
The attacks are in my view clearly contrary to our code of conduct sections 5.2 and 5.4.
Inter-departmental Impact: none
Budget Implications: □ Approval of Manager of Financial Services
Expected Date of Completion: NA
Craig Gammie Department Head
Date: August 30, 2017 Date: ______________________
From J. Jackson Facebook page:
The Friends of Sauble simply need to step aside and allow our community to enjoy their beach once again.
You are totally right….it was always the loud minority who ruled the roost. .But the “Friends” have now gone too far and the community is starting to react. I really appreciate your support and that of everyone who has spoken out against this mess. It’s much easier to fight a battle with a large army. If the “Friends” suffered from unpopularity prior to this week, I think they completely sunk themselves with their latest actions.
You aren’t alone George. All the good people [in Friends] left a long time ago.
At one time the town supported The Friends of Sauble Beach. The town no longer supports them. They were once a great benefit to our community, now they are simply a misguided political machine that over steps their bounds. They once had a membership of over 100 people but the early members who did great work have long since resigned. The Friends of Sauble have messed with Mother Nature by planting vegetation on the beach as well as an abundance of snow fencing which created the unnantural and unnecessary “fore-dunes” as they call them. The mess we’re trying to clean up is all man made.