If You Have Nothing To Hide

Jo-Anne Gignac, along with five other councilors, held the line on secrecy in Windsor.Photo by John Skinner.

Jo-Anne Gignac, along with five other councilors, held the line on secrecy in Windsor.
Photo by John Skinner.

Weeks-HeaderBy Howard Weeks

(WINDSOR, ON) – A forensic audit found that the mayor and councillors broke city spending and travel policies at least 266 times. As well, the mayor racked up $328,560 in questionable expenses since 2007, and 10 members of council breached the spending rules.

No. This is not Windsor.

It’s Brampton. Another Ontario city that, like Windsor, had for years resisted independent scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Windsor city council and administration continues to devolve into the train wreck you just can’t help but watch. One minute they are re-installing the failed, fake ice at Charles Park Square, the next minute it appears that they are not.

Councilors have skilfully avoided a clear vote on spending $280,000 to hire an Auditor General that studies have shown could return $12 to $20 for every dollar invested. Instead, with no studies whatsoever, they vote to spend over $300,000 to hire a sports tourism Tsar to somehow, lure business activity to Windsor.

The only thing they seem to be united upon is their reluctance and, for some, downright hostility toward the idea of hiring an independent overseer.

Anne Jarvis, in the local paper wrote, “Why are some people so opposed to an auditor general?”

Todd Langlois, the Auditor General who was hired then fired in 2012 said, “I don’t think there was any intention to ever allow me or this office to succeed. It was all for the optics. [There was] complete lack of support. The resistance throughout sure raises a red flag.”

Any child knows that, if you don’t want people to see something, you hide it away from prying eyes. What could city council and administration be doing that they are so desperately trying to hide?

Could it be, for example, their gross mismanagement of files like the aquatic center? Or, could it be much worse?

Is the situation here as dire as the case in Brampton?

Without an independent Auditor General put in place and the books being opened for all to see, can we be absolutely sure that it’s not?