The Municipal Act has provisions designed to ensure that council conducts business in a manner that is open and transparent. Included is the requirement that council discussions must be open to the public unless they fall within exceptions listed in the Act.
On the Town of South Bruce Peninsula (“TSBP”) March 20, 2018 council agenda is a closed session item entitled MC15-41. The agenda claims that the matter qualifies to be in closed session because it meets two Municipal Act criteria, namely “litigation” and “solicitor-client privilege”.
I am familiar with the matter on the agenda and I am confident that the matter meets neither the “litigation” nor the “solicitor-client” criteria, and as such is not legally allowed in closed session. I am also confident that the matter is being discussed in closed to hide from the residents the July 16, 2015 illegal action of the town clerk Angie Cathrae that brought us to this point.
The situation should not be hidden from the residents. Accordingly I describe the situation.
On June 9, 2015 a resident, Dan Kerr, asked Clerk Cathrae for information regarding court matters that I was involved in. Ms. Cathrae knows or reasonably ought to know that the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“MFIPPA”) prohibits her from giving out my personal information without my permission. Yet that is exactly what she did. She gave out my personal information. I submit that the release of my personal information was not inadvertent, but was rather wilful and malicious.
The requesting resident, Dan Kerr, then used the information to slander me in emails sent broadly, including to the press. Even some press members slandered me, albeit apparently inadvertently.
I could have asked that Clerk Cathrae be charged under the provincial offences act. But Ms. Cathrae was at the time in control of the TSBP legal budget, and would have paid her legal costs and any fines out of that budget, forcing the taxpayers to pay and holding herself harmless. Instead of prosecuting, I went to the office of the Ontario Freedom Of Information And Protection Of Privacy Commissioner (“IPC”), complaining on July 16, 2015 that by disclosing my personal information Clerk Cathrae had violated MFIPPA section 48, and the TSBP had violated section 32. (Ms. Cathre racked up significant legal bills anyway, paid for by taxpayers.)
The IPC investigated and found that the town had indeed contravened section 32 of MFIPPA by releasing my personal information.
The full IPC report is at:
The report summary reads as follows:
The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario (IPC) received a privacy complaint from an individual involving the Town of South Bruce Peninsula (the town). The complainant was concerned that the town had improperly disclosed his personal information to another individual, without notice, in contravention of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act . This Report finds that the town’s disclosure of the complainant’s personal information was not in accordance with section 32 of the Act..
The report wording “the town’s disclosure .. was not in accordance with section 32 of the Act” is softspeak for “the town’s disclosure .. was in contravention of the Act”. The IPC report clearly found that release of my personal information was in contravention of MFIPPA.
But the IPC refused to investigate my allegation that Ms. Cathrae had contravened section 48.
Nevertheless, the finding that the town contravened section 32, combined with the fact that Clerk Cathrae acted for the town, is a finding, by implication, that Ms. Cathrea personally contravened MFIPPA section 48.
I submitted to the IPC that Ms. Cathrae’s violation of section 48 was wilful and malicious, and I stand by that submission.
Ms. Cathrae has been gunning for me ever since I exposed her manipulation of the minutes of the committee of the whole meeting of May 17, 2011 so as to make it look like I had violated the Professional Engineers Act, a manipulation by Ms. Cathrae that got me charged with seven counts of breach of that Act, and had me facing fines of over $150,000, and jail time too. (The charges were dropped after I exposed Ms. Cathrae’s wilful misrepresentations.)
The intensity of Ms. Cathrae’s animosity towards me is apparent in the audio recording of the September 20, 2016 council meeting, which is at:
The agenda item starts at 1:47:00 on the audio recording. Ms. Cathrae’s tirade starts at 2:02:48.
In the September 20, 2016 council meeting I was accused of: 1) practicing law without a licence (contravening the Law Society Act), 2) breach of conflict of interest law, and 3) harassment of the clerk. I challenged my accusers to put their allegations before a competent adjudicator. They declined. But they put the allegation of practicing law without a licence before the Law Society of Upper Canada, which is not an adjudicator, but which nonetheless found that I did not breach the Law Society Act. Details of that fiasco are at:
The IPC cover-up
My complaint to the IPC was lodged July 16, 2015.
About October 2016 IPC investigator Natalie Rioux indicated to me that she had completed her investigation and that she had found that Clerk Cathrae had breached MFIPPA. Ms. Rioux indicated that she planned on releasing her report before the end of 2016.
The expected release date was missed. I called Ms. Rioux several times after December 31, 2016 asking when the report would be issued, always getting a reply of “soon”.
When Ms. Rioux and I chatted on September 15, 2017 Ms. Rioux told me that the IPC had received a call from Mayor Janice Jackson in December 2016 regarding the investigation.
A draft report was issued by Ms. Rioux to the parties on September 29, 2017, (9 months after the end-of-2016 expectation). There was not even a hint in the draft report that my allegation that Clerk Cathrae had violated section 48 had been heard, acknowledged, investigated, considered, decided, or anything else. My complaint that the clerk had contravened section 48 was completely sanitized out.
In an October 11, 2017 letter to Ms. Rioux I vigorously protested the sanitization.
The final report, issued February 22, 2018, more than 31 months after my complaint was lodged, spoke to my protest (that my allegation that Clerk Cathrae had breached section 48 was conspicuously missing).
In Ms. Rioux’s report paragraph 45 my protest was acknowledged. Then in paragraph 46 Ms. Rioux said:
[MFIPPA section 48(1)(a)] requires the consent of the Attorney General to commence a prosecution.
That is false. Section 48(3) of MFIPPA makes clear that only sections 48(1) (d), (e) or (f) require consent of the Attorney General, and makes clear that prosecution under section 48(1)(a) does not require consent of the Attorney General. (Did they really think I wouldn’t check?)
Also Ms. Rioux’s statement is irrelevant because I did not request commencement of a prosecution, and I made very clear to Ms. Rioux at the outset that I had chosen not to proceed along the prosecution route.
Ms. Rioux also said:
This investigation is not an appropriate forum to consider whether a person has committed an offence under the Act and the IPC has no jurisdiction to conduct a trial of a provincial offence. That jurisdiction is with the Ontario Court of Justice, and I therefore decline to make a finding on this issue.
The flaw in this rationalization is that the IPC could have applied the same “reasoning” to the issue of whether section 32 was breached, but clearly did not. Also I did not request a “trial of a provincial offence” or any trial.
The IPC rationale for not investing my allegation that Ms. Cathrae breached section 48(1)(a) is patently absurd.
The evidence before me includes:
1) the report that mayor Janice Jackson called the IPC in December 16 about the matter,
2) the sanitization of section 48 from the September 29, 2017 draft report,
3) the extreme delay in producing the final report, and
4) the absurd and groundless rationalization in the final February 22, 2018 IPC report for not investigating or finding on my allegation that Ms. Cathrae had breached MFIPPA section 48,
Given that compelling (albeit circumstantial) evidence the only conclusion that I can reach is that there must have been political interference brought to bear in order to protect Ms. Cathrae.
I believe that the IPC act of sanitizing out and then circumventing my allegation that Ms. Cathrae contravened section 48 was a cover-up.
Is a council cover-up under way?
I further submit that the plan to hold the TSBP council discussion of the IPC report on March 20, 2018 in closed session, out of sight of the residents, shielded from scrutiny, and immune to criticism, is nothing less than a council execution of another cover-up.
I expect that in closed session a majority of council will declare by resolution:
1) that Ms. Cathrae was accused of breach of MFIPPA,
2) that the IPC investigated the allegation,
3) that the IPC did not find that Ms. Cathrae breached MFIPPA, and,
4) that therefore Ms. Cathrae is vindicated.
But if it stays in closed session we will never know, will we?
Bullying of those who in good faith criticize a staff member or a council member is becoming all too common. It is my hope that residents will expose the bullying, and stand up to the bullies.
Craig Gammie, Councillor-in-Exile
Craig how much are your frivolous actions causing us the taxpayers? You are on record as saying ” If the Sauble land claim does go to trial, it will be a simple trial compared to other land claim lawsuits because it will be focused mostly or solely on where the northern boundary is, and also because the evidence is pretty clear and limited.”.. well what a load of steaming BS that was. It is going to trail and tell us Craig what are the current costs to date since you interfered in and ultimately caused an agreed upon settlement that would have seen the beach be managed by both parties as well as a substantial payment to the town scrapped? As someone with a personal interest in this lawsuit I can tell you the costs are substantial and rising with not even a trial date set.
Keep your nose out of things you are clearly misinformed about.
Several have alleged, in court, that my actions are frivolous. None were. No court has found any frivolous.
Several have alleged that my actions are costing the taxpayers.
I have cost the taxpayers nothing . It is council that has cost the taxpayers. See my letter to “xxxx” at:
Regarding the land claim, there was a proposal, but there never was an agreed upon settlement, so there was nothing to scrap. The first nations declined to agree with the proposal for reasons unknown to me. The Town did not agree with it mostly because the proposed agreement would have given most of the beach to the First Nation, and council decided to defend rather than give the beach away. To the best of my recall, the council decision was unanimous.
It appears to me that you are misinformed regarding both legal costs and the proposed beach settlement.
You accused me of commenting on things you claim I am “clearly misinformed about”. Perhaps you could identify my supposed “misinformation”. And perhaps you should consider whether you are the misinformed one.
“For reasons unknown to me”??? Then you are either ignorant to the facts or are too embarrassed to admit the SFN WITHDREW their offer once one uninformed citizen took it upon himself to spread misinformation. “misinformed about both the legal costs and proposed settlement”… Let me assure you I am not. You do realize there are other parties that have been dragged through this legal nightmare since the early 80’s. Your arrogance is exceeded only by your ego. No I cannot identify your supposed misinformation as the matter is before the courts and I have been advised not to discuss any specifics. Shame you hadn’t exercised the same restraints and this would have been settled.
I seriously hope you are considering another run at a council seat this year…. It will be interesting to see who you blame your lack of success on.
Can you produce their signed offer? The SFN did not make a settlement offer, at least not in 2014.
“No I cannot identify your supposed misinformation as the matter is before the courts and I have been advised not to discuss any specifics.”
What a pathetic excuse. You cannot identify my purported misinformation because there was none. You know nothing and you are hiding under a gag order that does not exist.
This would not have been settled unless council had really upped the offer. Which was not going to happen.
So Craig, did you happen to see the article in the Sun Times regarding the SFN election recently? Did you happen to read how SFN stated there was an agreement, but that SBP backed out? Did you happen to notice the case is now going to court? Do you have any idea the costs this is going to put on the taxpayers?
So, who is it that “actually knows nothing”?
BTW, I am not “hiding under a gag order..” I am simply following the advice of my attorney.
If “SFN stated there was an agreement, but that SBP backed out” would that make it true? There was a proposal only. No party signed on. There was no agreement.
The decision to go to court was made by council 3 years ago. It was unanimous.
The costs depend on who wins.
If you cannot back up your defamatory claims (that I spread misinformation; that I killed the agreement), you shouldn’t be making them. Your claims are false.
So Craig, just wondering if, after the latest article posted in the Sun Times, that quoted the agreement, that the town back out of, that quoted the $5 million dollars, and the fact the Federal Government is now proceeding under the guise that the land does in fact, belong to SFN, if you are willing to admit, you were wrong when you said that
A) There was no agreement
b) ” If the Sauble land claim does go to trial, it will be a simple trial compared to other land claim lawsuits because it will be focused mostly or solely on where the northern boundary is, and also because the evidence is pretty clear and limited.”
You have been on about the “agreement” on this blog. You claimed back in 2018 there was an agreement, but when I challenged you to produce it you failed. There was lots of talk and there was a proposal, but there was no agreement.
Now you seem to be claiming, by implication, without support, and without even properly referencing your source, that the Sun Times has the agreement.
Produced the signed agreement or drop this line.
The position of the attorney general (2014) is that SFN owns the land. Not really a federal government position. The position is flawed and unsupportable. And neither the Attorney General nor the Federal Government is deciding who gets the land, are they?
I wrote the “simple trial compared ..” comment long ago when I was involved. Because Janice Jackson took over and shut out everyone else, I no longer believe it will be quite as simple. I am still confident we will win, but we will need to get council and the residents actively involved.
Craig, you certainly are stubborn when it come to admitting you may have been mistaken!
As your memory, or Google search, skills seem to have left you unable to search for my supporting information, here is the link to the agreement, although I am sure you have already seen this, but refuse to acknowledge it supports my post.
Click to access doc_635431064457815239.pdf
The post in the Sun Times was regarding SBP’s council challenges for 2019, which also referenced the deal shown above. But as it included a picture of the duly elected mayor, Janice Jackcson, I am guessing you probably didn’t read it.
Re. the Attorney General, sorry Craig, but once again, you are misinformed. The Federal Government, in their filings, have taken the stance that the SFN do in fact, own the beach, and are preparing to argue this point in the upcoming litigation.
Enjoy your day Craig, but be a man, and admit your are mistaken.
Your tactic of making a claim and then challenging your opponent to back up your claim is ridiculous. Only those without an argument use this tactic.
The link you provided is evidence that there was a proposed agreement, but it is not evidence of an agreement. As I have indicated, there was no agreement.
I read your reluctance to provide a link to the Sun Times article as an indication that the article does not back up your claim.
Pleadings have been submitted by the Attorney General, (http://craiggammie.com/SOFN%20Claim/2013%2001%2030%20case%20253768%20Canda%20defense.pdf ) not by the federal government. The 2013 pleading by the AG does claim that the SFN own the beach. But whether the AG or federal government makes the pleadings does not matter much. What matters is that neither the federal government nor the AG are adjudicating. A judge of the Ontario Superior court of justice will adjudicate.