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Tony Van Bynen and elections

Newmarket’s retired banker Mayor, Tony Van Bynen, is pleased with himself.

He used his column in yesterday’s Era newspaper (25 August) to proclaim:

“I am pleased to announce I was elected as a representative on the 2016-2018 AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario) Board of Directors Regional and Single Tier Caucus.”

We are told this is a prestigious elevation.

Explaining his success, he told the Era’s Chris Simon in his weird management-speak:

“I scoped it out in advance.”

Van Bynen will be joining a 43 strong Board of Directors and will be unpaid though he will be able to claim reasonable expenses.

So let us celebrate our Mayor’s success in being one of the six successful candidates in a field of nine in a caucus election to represent the Province's regions and larger cities.

But while doing so, let us not forget that Van Bynen is in favour of elections only when they suit his purpose.


When the issue of electing York Regional Chair came up for discussion at the Regional Council on 18 February 2016 Van Bynen was one of 14 voting for the status quo, openly snubbing the views of his colleagues on Newmarket Council who voted 7-1 for direct election.

The current Chair of York Region, Wayne Emmerson, was not even a councillor when he was indirectly elected in 2014 by 20 members of the Regional Council on a 16-4 vote.

Clearly, Van Bynen does not see it as part of his job to reflect the views of Newmarket Council at the regional level when he disagrees with its position.

This, despite the fact that Van Bynen only serves on York Regional Council by virtue of his position as Mayor of Newmarket, getting over $50,000 a year for merely being present, more often than not contributing absolutely nothing to the debates. His interventions are few and very far between.

Reform of the OMB

Elsewhere… I see the Province will be bringing forward in the Fall its long awaited review of the OMB. At the last municipal election in 2014, after the Glenway debacle, Van Bynen, promised Newmarket voters:

“Bringing reform to the Ontario Municipal Board and the Planning Act to ensure our residents have a say in shaping their community will be a priority in the next term. Our Council’s decision to fight for Glenway and defend our Town’s official plan was the right thing to do. I will be working with the Association of Municipalities of Ontario and a number of mayors to meet with the Province to bring about real change to the municipal planning process.”

I am left wondering what Van Bynen has done to advance OMB reform since he made that statement almost two years ago.

Our next door neighbour, Tom Mrakas from Aurora, seems to have been making all the running on OMB reform with a little help from Newmarket’s Christina Bisanz.

Can it possibly be the case that Van Bynen has been shunning the limelight, labouring in the background, lobbying Ministers and working with the AMO on reforming the OMB just like he said he would?

(more to follow)

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