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York Region councillors make no comment on their Code of Conduct

At long last a Code of Conduct is to be brought in to police the behaviour of members of York Regional Council. 

York Region is responsible for spending billions of dollars of public money but, curiously, doesn't have one. Its members never regarded a Code of Conduct as a top priority. The Chair, Wayne Emmerson (right), thought it unnecessary.

Last week, Regional Solicitor, Joy Hulton, outlined a raft of changes to the Municipal Act designed to keep the members on their toes. The measures - which include the mandatory appointment of an Integrity Commissioner - have long been resisted by members of the Council even when one of their own was behaving in a scandalous way.

Elephant in the room

At the Committee of the Whole on 22 June the elephant in the room is, of course, their  disgraced former colleague Michael Di Biase. No-one dares utter the words "Code of Conduct" or "Integrity Commissioner". Their silence on the core issue speaks volumes. Instead, they witter on about anything but.

Markham's Deputy Mayor Jack Heath opens with a confession. He has something very personal to say. First I hear a collective sharp intake of breath. Now I hear nervous laughter and chortling. What a tease!

He says with an air of faux embarrassment that if he gets re-elected next year and serves another full four year term he will be two weeks short of his 25 year long service award.

What can be done about this injustice?

"Round it up" cries a wag.

He asks about alternate members - where a local council can appoint one of its members to act in the place of a person who is a member of the Regional Council. As I am listening to Jack Heath my eye strays to the right to see Van Trappist gently snoozing.

Van Trappist and diversity

In two hours he makes one feeble contribution lasting around 15 seconds. He is talking about the application of the Retail Business Holidays Act. Some businesses are upset they are forced to close on certain days of the year. Van Trappist tells us we live in a diverse society and cautions against singling out Christmas and Easter and ordering retail businesses to shut up shop on these days.

I groan silently. No-one mentions employees forced to work on Christmas day. Not even a glancing reference.

Roll on Judgement Day

Now we are getting a presentation on the Court Services Annual Report. I learn it is the mission of Court Services

"to provide timely, quality and cost effective access to Justice."

As I am listening to this my mind drifts off to the case of Di Muccio v Taylor which, astonishingly, is still live and active.

The fragile former Newmarket councillor, Maddie Di Muccio, is demanding $5,000 from Regional Councillor John Taylor for defamation and hurt feelings. The case opened on 15 June 2015 and is 743 days old. The two day trial ended on 3 May 2017 and we are waiting for the Judgement to be delivered or "handed down" as they used to say.

No rush, M'lud.

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