Government Ethics

5 petitions

This petition won 6 days ago

Petition to Bill Mauro, Kathryn McGarry, Fred Eisenberger, Ken Hewitt, Alan Caslin, Sandy Annunziata, James Kaspersetz, Brian Baty, J. Stewart Beatti, Frank Campion, Patrick Darte, Jim Diodati, April Jeffs, Douglas Joyner, JOHN MALONEY, Tony Quirk, Rob Shirton, Bruce Timms, Walter Sendzik, Kathleen Wynne

Accountability at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA)

WHEREAS there is a perception of a proclivity to favour developers at the expense of conservation and the NPCA’s official mandate; despite irrefutable, documented evidence, the NPCA has neglected to enforce conservation regulations when the infraction involves a developer.   WHEREAS the Board has demonstrated favouritism to friends, and fellow Board members, by awarding untendered contracts to under-qualified individuals replacing professional, well trained, fully qualified employees; The Board has further engendered a toxic environment for employees, and Board members, who disagree with their actions by threatening action in the event of perceived "whistle-blowing". WHEREAS we feel the only way to stop the uncontrolled destruction of our green spaces in the name of development is to dissolve the Board of Directors of the NPCA and appoint a caretaker board. THEREFORE   We demand Premier Wynne show some leadership in this urgent issue and stepin to that end; We demand the municipalities which contribute to the NPCA immediately recall their representatives until such a time as a complete forensic audit is completed; we recommend any future board comprise at minimum half citizen representatives with relevant specializations to be selected after an application process;  we recommend any future board be prohibited from stacking mayors as it is perceived to be a conflict of interest. For more information or to contact the Save Thundering Waters Forest crew, email us at: email the STWF6 crew at: stwf6info@gmail.comSome highlights of recent controversy include, though are not limited to: Member of the Board of Directors, Mayor Frank Campion, is on tape stating he believes the board should resign and questions whether there should be a criminal investigation of the NPCA. An employee of Niagara Region has come forward alleging that Regional matters are improperly discussed and strategy agreed on, out of public view, in closed-door meetings among the mayors and CAOs of Niagara’s municipalities. Together, the region’s mayors, make up 12 of the 30 votes on Niagara Regional Council and 5 of the 15 votes on the NPCA board. This is a clear conflict of interest and violation of Ontario Municipal Act, 2001, c. 25, s. 239 (1). The NPCA is using public funds to sue a citizen, Ed Smith, claiming defamation after a citizen lead investigation, through the Freedom of Information Act, resulted in the publication of a report “A Call for Accountability at the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority”. The report, circulated in October 2016, was critical of the way NPCA operates and accused the agency of being rife with conflicts of interest issues; the NPCA has yet to deny, or respond to, most of the allegations contained within. The NPCA has refused to enforce provincial regulations when the complaint is made by a citizen against a developer nor force remediation of the land. 3.1 A citizens complainants regarding potential development and past infilling of a Provincially Significant Wetland (PSW) at Coyle Creek in Welland. Requests by Welland MPP Cindy Forester for an update as to an enforcement plan for the developer to remediate this PSW remain unanswered; the NPCA state the matter is closed. At Draper's Creek in Welland a drainage pipe was installed in the middle of a PSW. The drainage pipe was reported by an adjacent landowner to the City of Welland and to the NPCA. The city of Welland staff verified the existence of the illegal drain pipe, tracing it to the end point, verifying that the swamp was being drained into the city's drainage system. An appeal was filed by the adjacent landowner to have the developer forced to remediate the land by simply removing the drainage pipe, the NPCA has refused. The NPCA used public funds to hire lobbyists to actively promote biodiversity offsetting, and “compensation”, in furtherance of their development agenda. On June 19th, 2017, the chair of the NPCA told Lincoln town council his agency needs to focus solely on water and the effects of water. “We are not an environmental protection agency”, Sandy Annunziata. In January, 2017, a majority of Niagara’s municipal councils, Hamilton council and all four Niagara MPPs called for an audit of the agency. The board initially declined an offer by the provincial auditor general to do an audit at no cost to the Board. In April, the Board changed its mind, cancelling its bidding process to hire an auditor. According to the Auditor General’s official Twitter account, no audit is scheduled. There exists a culture of fear within the NPCA:7.1 On February 8, 2017, OPSEU release a statement regarding recent lay-offs. “In a workplace with 32 bargaining unit employees, there are over 20 managers.  Currently there are 10 active grievances, all at arbitration – about one grievance for every three unionized employees. Instead of working with the union to settle grievances in early stages, NPCA senior staff routinely spend public money on expensive arbitration hearings.” - Warren “Smokey” Thomas, President OPSEU. On July 19, 2017, OPSEU released the results of a stress survey, conducted in cooperation with OHCOW, which asked them to evaluate the psychological climate in their workplace. Almost 90 per cent of NPCA employees completed the survey, Two-thirds of NPCA employees indicated they have experienced workplace bullying, while 70 per cent say they have witnessed “offensive behaviours”. A culture of questionable ethics/behaviours continues to exist:8.1 On June 12, 2017, Sandy Annunziata, chairman, asked that a video of the board’s January meeting be edited to remove footage of two board members appearing to give a Nazi salute. The video shows Welland Mayor Frank Campion and Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati making the gesture; Mayors Campion and Diodati verbally apologized; the video was removed from YouTube and edited before being reloaded. The mayors were not censured nor was further action taken. 8.2 By comparison, board member Bill Hodgson, of Lincoln, had been urging the Board to take steps to reassure the public of the agency’s integrity in the wake of the “A Call for Accountability” report (see items #4 and 5). On April 26, 2017, in a special meeting, behind closed doors, the Board voted to censure Mr Hodgson, refusing to release any further information. A two-thirds majority of 12 members would require eight members to vote in favour of a motion.The public vote to confirm the decisions made in confidential session was seven in favour and four against; the motion passed in contravention of the requirement. Amidst allegations of bullying and harassment, after being improperly censured, Councillor Hodgson has since resigned.  

Emily Spanton
656 supporters
Update posted 1 month ago

Petition to Justin Trudeau, Tom Mulcair, Elizabeth May, Rhéal Fortin, Andrew Scheer

Stop Political Lapdog Appointments

In contrast to Britain's Prime Minister, the Prime Minister of Canada has the power to appoint whomever he wants to head up watchdog agencies that enforce key laws to protect our democracy and human rights, and to protect the environment, consumers and your family from being abused. More than 2,000 people are hand-picked by Canada's Prime Minister to head up these key watchdog agencies, with very few restrictions on whom he chooses.  The Prime Minister even gets to choose the watchdogs who enforce the laws that require himself, and his Cabinet ministers and top government officials, to be honest, ethical, open and waste-preventing! As a result, Canada's Prime Minister can easily pick lapdogs to be the Ethics Commissioner, Auditor General, Chief Electoral Officer, Lobbying Commissioner, RCMP Commissioner, Information Commissioner, Parliamentary Budget Officer, and Integrity Commissioner.  And the Prime Minister can pick lapdogs for the Canadian Human Rights Commission, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, National Energy Board, Immigration and Refugee Board, Competition Bureau, Financial Consumer Agency of Canada, Transportation Safety Board, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, and for many more key watchdog agencies.  Those lapdogs can then protect the Prime Minister, his Cabinet ministers and government officials instead of strongly enforcing laws and holding them accountable for wrongdoing. This has to stop – unchecked political lapdog appointments that put unqualified people into powerful, important government jobs hurt our democracy, our environment and our families, and waste our money. And it can be stopped – the Ontario government has an independent committee to find qualified people to be appointed as judges for Ontario's courts.  And Britain has an independent committee to find qualified people to be appointed as the heads of judges and all law enforcement and watchdog agencies, boards, commissions and tribunals. You can help stop political lapdog appointments by signing and sharing this petition which calls on the federal government to set up a fully independent appointments committee, like Ontario and Britain have, to ensure that qualified, non-partisan people are chosen to be strong watchdogs for all these key law enforcement agencies. Prime Minister Trudeau will choose several key government watchdogs in the next few months, and the Liberals are using exactly the same process to choose lapdogs as former Prime Minister Harper's Conservatives used. The pressure is increasing on Prime Minister Trudeau to set up an independent appointments committee to stop him from appointing political lapdogs.  Your time to be heard is now -- please sign and share this petition with everyone you think may want to sign it. You can also help stop political lapdog appointments by your provincial government by clicking here now to send a letter to your Premier and provincial politician. See details about political lapdog appointments in the following recent news stories Toronto Star (May 23, 2017) -- Government shouldn’t choose watchdogs meant to hold it to account National Post (June 6, 2017) -- Trudeau Cabinet in conflict of interest when appointing ethics and lobbying watchdogs as both are investigating Trudeau Democracy Watch (May 17, 2017) -- Federal Liberals should suspend Ethics Commissioner, Lobbying Commissioner and other judicial and watchdog appointments until they make the appointment process independent and merit-based

Democracy Watch
11,298 supporters
Update posted 7 months ago

Petition to Christy Clark, John horgan, Andrew Weaver

Stop Big Money in B.C. Politics

Money to the Ref?  We don’t allow that in the Olympics or hockey or baseball or other sports – but in B.C. politics it’s legal! B.C.’s Liberal government have been caught up in a political fundraising scandal for the past several months after Premier Christy Clark was caught holding high-priced, secretive, exclusive fundraising events.  Big business executives and other wealthy people are paying up to $20,000 to meet behind closed doors with Premier Clark and other Cabinet ministers. The B.C. NDP have also held high-priced, exclusive events where donors pay to meet with NDP leader John Horgan. B.C. has one of the most unethical and undemocratic political finance systems in Canada – it’s truly a best-government-money-can-buy system.  Businesses, unions and other organizations, even foreign businesses and interest groups, can donate an unlimited amount to B.C. political parties and politicians. To their credit, the B.C. NDP and the B.C. Green Party have called for a ban on donations from corporations, unions and other organizations, and limits on donations from individuals, and as of September 2016 the B.C. Green Party only accepts donations from individuals.  The B.C. NDP have also called for: a ban on partisan government advertising; a limit on pre-election spending by parties and candidates, and; a ban on parties paying their leaders a salary.  However, even more changes are needed to stop the unethical and undemocratic influence of big money in B.C. politics.  The B.C. Liberals are resisting any changes that would stop them receiving more of their money through big donations from big businesses and wealthy individuals. Please sign this petition calling on the B.C. parties to work together to stop big money in B.C. politics by banning donations from businesses and other organizations, lowering the donation limit to $100 a year, and making other key changes – as Quebec did in 2013 to stop wealthy people and interest groups from using money as an undemocratic, unethical way of influencing politicians and parties. Politicians are supposed to be the referees who decide what is in the public interest – so why would we allow big businesses, interest groups or wealthy people to buy them off with huge donations, including secret donations? The Globe and Mail revealed last spring that B.C.’s Liberal Premier Christy Clark, and her Cabinet ministers, and the opposition party leaders, were all holding high-priced, secret exclusive events where politicians sell access to themselves in return for a big donation. Despite the public outcry about these unethical fundraising events, the B.C. Liberals are resisting making any changes.  The B.C. NDP and the B.C. Green Party have called for some changes but not enough to stop big money's influence in B.C. politics. Please see background information at: Democracy Watch (October 26, 2016): Democracy Watch challenges B.C. Conflict of Interest Commissioner’s ruling on Premier Clark’s high-priced, exclusive fundraising events CBC (April 1, 2016): Premiers' exclusive fundraisers violate conflict of interest rules, says Democracy Watch

Democracy Watch
6,351 supporters