Pressuring Council: The Infamous “E” Email


The Toronto Star reported

“The concentration of power in the Leader’s office has hit the provincial Liberals just as it hit the federal Conservatives previously: 

“Key moves are increasingly shrouded in secrecy and the centralization of influence in the premier’s office — resulting in some questionable decisions — has some Grits drawing parallels to Prime Minister Stephen Harper methods. 

“I worry that we’re being seen as sneaky and that’s not who we are,” frets one senior Liberal, who like others interviewed spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss internal deliberations.”

Has this method of governing now reached the municipal level in Windsor? You be the judge after reading this BLOG. 

Does anyone have a copy of the notorious “E” email via Paul Edwards of City Hall that was sent the other day to Councillors reminding them of the facts of life if they don’t knuckle under with respect to the garbage matter?

 Apparently, the email is not supposed to be distributed. I wonder why not. What is there in it to hide from taxpayers? What is the author so ashamed about that no one else should see it? 

I have heard about the e-mail and its contents from several sources. I find the email to be shocking and disgusting if what I am told about it is true! On the other hand, you, dear reader, if you are allowed to see it, might think it is nothing more than information being provided to Councillors. I am sure that is how it would be presented to the public by the author. Unfortunately, I expect that taxpayers will never get to see it so no one will be in a position to make that assessment. 

From my perspective, it tells me what kind of City that Windsor has become. It is a City where people are afraid to say or do anything contrary to the accepted dogma. Or else. 

Take a look at the mayoral race. Why would anyone want to run? Who needs the aggravation? Even if they are putting forward what they believe to be a legally supportable position in a court proceeding, take a look at the “Millionaires On The Campaign Trail?” Blog as an example of what can be expected. 

Shall we assume that the Mayor is not going to announce that he’s running for a third term? After all, both City Hall reporter Doug Schmidt and Gord Henderson are trying so hard to encourage Councillor Lewenza to run for Mayor. 

Naturally, if Lewenza decides finally to run after the announcement by Edgar (aka Eddie) on July 20, or the suggestion is made that he may run, then Edgar has to run no matter if it means that he is breaking his promise about running only for two terms. After all, he will have to save us from the Socialist hordes who would take us back to the pre-Edgar era and reverse all of the fantastic accomplishments to date that turned us into one of the worst run cities in Canada. 

Do not worry, the Councillor will not run. In fact, the Councillor may have difficulty being re-elected the way he is being slammed but win he will. It is very strange to me but he has turned into the nonpolitician that Edgar always claimed that he was: 

“I SAID TO YOU EARLIER THAT I AM NOT A POLITICIAN AND I AM NOT RUNNING FOR OFFICE TO BE MAYOR FOR LIFE…MY TERM IS NOT TO EXCEED TWO.”

How else to explain his position on the CUPE strike. Sure, Lewenza has a pro-Labour background but that does not account for the fact that he has gone out of his way to try to tell people the truth about what really happened during the 101-day labour dispute. Have you heard yet from the Windsor Star how the hardliner position cost the taxpayers millions of dollars that they did not have to spend? 

Of course not, that would destroy the well-crafted Image of the Mayor. In fact, we still get this BS from Gord instead:

WINDSOR STAR EXCERPT DELETED BY REQUEST OF POSTMEDIA NETWORK INC. LEGAL DEPT.”

 What politician in his right mind, especially in an election year, would go out publicly across the City to try to convince taxpayers that they should accept a 10% increase in water rates because it was the right thing to do. Instead, he could have taken the politically cowardly act of advocating for a much lower increase the way the Mayor did. You know what happened when the Mayor in fact said we should have a rate reduction in the water rates in the past… we were hit with an 86% increase subsequently.

What kind of a politician would berate his own Board for flip-flopping and risk being tossed out as Chair as the Windsor Star would love to see happen.

WINDSOR STAR EXCERPT DELETED BY REQUEST OF POSTMEDIA NETWORK INC. LEGAL DEPT.”

Which kind of leadership would you prefer to see? Do you want a continuation of that demonstrated by our Mayor in the Greenlink sellout or do you want to see a new kind of leadership that respects the population as shown by Council Lewenza? 

We know that Councillors were not allowed to speak out publicly during the border file. They had to defer to the Voice of Council. Wasn’t it the same during the labor dispute? Councillors were criticized for speaking out in public. 

Except, as I read the Municipal Act, that is their job. After all their duties include: 

“It is the role of council, 

(a) to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality;” 

How can they vote that away by saying that only the Mayor can speak on an issue? Once they voted that way, they can be pressured into keeping quiet can’t they? 

But it is the Windsor Utilities Commission matter that disgusts me. How can the WUC Board responsibly put forward a 3% increase when all through the public hearings they were strongly urging that citizens support a 10% increase?

Flip-flop as the Star called it? Or was it instead, pressure and intimidation. Did the Board get the message loud and clear from the Messenger Editorial: 

WINDSOR STAR EXCERPT DELETED BY REQUEST OF POSTMEDIA NETWORK INC. LEGAL DEPT.” 

It would have been a fascinating to attend the Commission meeting last week to listen to what was said that convinced them to “flip-flop” to 3%. I do not know if there was a public session for that or not. Did the Mayor explain to the Board members the legal position as set out in the Messenger’s Editorial? Mere information or was it pressuring? 

But there is more as I have Blogged before. How could it be that a report was submitted to Council with respect to a 3% Option when the WUC Board did not authorize it? Was pressure placed on certain Commission staff to develop that Option and to present it to Council no matter what and if so who did it? 

Let us assume that there was pressure put on. Is that a violation of the City’s harassment policy and if so is there not a legal obligation on the WUC Board to investigate it now? If there is, are they doing it? If not, why not and aren’t they risking personal liability by not complying with the law and the City’s harassment policy? By the way, that legal duty arises whether a formal complaint was made or not if the Board is aware that there was harassment. 

What is interesting is that the person who introduced the Report to Council is not an employee of the Commission but rather an employee of Enwin who provides the management services for the Commission under a multimillion dollar agreement. Did someone at Enwin put the pressure on and if so who? Does that mean that there is a way to circumvent the Commission Board if that Board makes a decision that some don’t like? Is the Commission now at the mercy of both Council and of Enwin? Is someone at Enwin looking into this matter? 

Back to the “E” email and garbage. 

Cristina Howorun of Eh-News had already uncovered that Turtle Island was involved with litigation with the City of Toronto that was not revealed in their RFP submission. In fact, the video presented from her demonstrated that the Turtle Island representative denied that there was any litigation. Why even the Mayor said that his comments were “concerning.” 

However, when the story finally made it to the Star, his concern seems to have evaporated into thin air even though Administration confirmed; 

WINDSOR STAR EXCERPT DELETED BY REQUEST OF POSTMEDIA NETWORK INC. LEGAL DEPT.” 

According to the Mayor now; 

WINDSOR STAR EXCERPT DELETED BY REQUEST OF POSTMEDIA NETWORK INC. LEGAL DEPT.” 

DUH… isn’t that one of the major issues against privatization? The Turtle Island bid may be low today to get the contract, but any kind of a change in the contract could result in Turtle Island demanding huge increases from the City and the City has no bargaining position left. Is that what cost the City of Toronto $1.5 million? 

Why did the Mayor see fit to reveal information disclosed “so far?” Why didn’t he wait to hear it all? How could he possibly say this based on incomplete data: 

WINDSOR STAR EXCERPT DELETED BY REQUEST OF POSTMEDIA NETWORK INC. LEGAL DEPT.” 

Why was he opening his mouth to speak prematurely? Were the Councillors being given a message by the Mayor through the newspaper rather than directly that he wanted his agenda completed no matter what? Why, look at what Councillor Hatfield said even though he has not seen everything yet either: 

WINDSOR STAR EXCERPT DELETED BY REQUEST OF POSTMEDIA NETWORK INC. LEGAL DEPT” 

Clearly, he is suffering from the “so far” disease too. Why did he open his mouth an incomplete data and who gave him authority to do so?  Did he get his cue from what the Mayor said? 

Don’t the Mayor and Councillor Hatfield get it? We are way past the issue of; 

WINDSOR STAR EXCERPT DELETED BY REQUEST OF POSTMEDIA NETWORK INC. LEGAL DEPT.” 

Has anyone actually seen the court documents in the Turtle Island and City of Toronto dispute? If not, then how can anybody be making the comments they are making? 

Losing points would have been relevant if the Company revealed the litigation. The issue now is did the Company deliberately lie to the City in its RFP submission on a vital matter such that this Company should not be trusted and should be automatically thrown out and not be allowed to bid on City business again. 

However, Councillors it would appear cannot discuss this issue or any other matter respecting garbage amongst themselves. The “E” email I believe forbids it. The Mayor and Council Hatfield can shoot off their mouths to the Messenger with impunity to say that everything is all right so that the Mayor’s agenda is not delayed but the rest of Council are only supposed to talk and ask questions it would appear in public meetings. 

Naturally, those who set the agenda love to have questions asked at Council. Questions have been raised at public Council meetings about a number of items and aren’t necessarily answered at that time or even within a year or more after the question being asked. And guess who is in charge of the Council meetings and who can control the questioning. 

You see if a question is asked and then answered by Staff, then Councillors will be given the script that they must use so that they can all speak in a unified manner. We cannot have differences of opinion when a key Edgar matter is being considered. In this way, Council shares any blame and it is not just put on Edgar’s shoulders if something goes wrong. 

Apparently still sending e-mails to each other about the garbage issue can somehow be considered to be a “debate” with all kinds of horrific consequences to Councillors personally if they do so. Is that information given to them or intimidation to warn them what could happen to them if they do not knuckle under? 

Why if a Councillor makes an unfortunate remark, do you know what the result could be: serious threats could be made against members of Staff. Oh my, how convenient that there was a huge Star story reporting on an anonymous threat rather than keeping it quiet so that the police could investigate. Nothing better to stoke the anti-CUPE hatred is there. 

The “E” e-mail I am told states that Administration will report once they have all the information. If that is the case, and Administration does not have all the information, but only information “so far,” then are the Mayor and Councillor Hatfield in breach of this e-mail such that they should be censured? 

I think so and it should be done on Monday night to teach them a lesson.

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Ed Arditti

Ed Arditti is a retired lawyer and living in Tecumseh, Ontario.

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