Registered letter to Hazel McCallion sets record straight on her Security operation and its “CSIS” database
April 22nd, 2015
On April 16, 2015, the following letter was sent by registered mail to former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion in response to an email that she sent me back on April 16, 2007. In it, the Mayor insisted that regarding
This now sets the record straight.
Dear Madam Mayor, (You’ll always be “Madam Mayor” to me…)
I’m sending this by registered letter today, April 16, 2015, because it’s my way of acknowledging the 8th anniversary of an email that you wrote to me back on April 16, 2007.
After years of filing Freedom of Information I was finally ready to meet with you, and successfully set up a meeting for October 6, 2014.
Then, however, you (or your staff) postponed it on June 30, 2014, writing:
Unfortunately, due to changes in the Mayor’s schedule we are unable to confirm the October 6th date. As per the Mayor’s e-mail to you earlier today, we will be in touch with you in the future as to when the Mayor is able to meet with you.
Well, no one ever did get in touch. I waited patiently until I finally had to write and remind you on November 5, 2014. On November 7th your Office wrote advising me there’d be no meeting:
Thank you for your e-mail dated November 5, 2014. Unfortunately, due to the Mayor’s heavy schedule and numerous commitments prior to her retirement we are unable to accommodate your request for a meeting at this time.
You have also taken issue with my earlier statement that the City treats all its residents fairly regardless of language or ethnicity. You alleged that because there is no detail on any security reports based on age and ethnicity, I had no basis to make this statement. You also made other comments and references to instances that took place in the Brampton courts to substantiate your assertions. Contrary to your allegations, it is because the City does not discriminate on the basis of age and ethnicity that there are no records to be found based on such categories. I can also see no correlation between your speculative comments or such instances occurring outside of our City and your suggestion that the City is not treating its residents fairly, as I have indicated earlier.
The statement, “Contrary to your allegations, it is because the City does not discriminate on the basis of age and ethnicity that there are no records to be found based on such categories.” was not only false, I allege that denying that the City kept ethnicity/age records was deliberate deception.
Your emphatic denial that the City kept no ethnicity/age records eventually cost me enormous amounts of time and several hundred dollars for Freedom of Information filings. Because of your denial, when I requested first the hard copies, and later the computer files for the entire City of Mississauga Corporate Security “CSIS” database, I asked for all fields—but not ethnicity and age, since I believed what you wrote about not keeping that data!
The fact is, ethnicity and age were the two most important issues I was researching as a member of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Network’s Education and Policy Working Group. Your April 16, 2007 email denied keeping those stats.
Please find enclosed a print-out of the entire City of Mississauga Corporate Security “CSIS” database (81 pages) that I finally secured through Freedom of Information. It’s a version that I’ve modified so that only the most important fields fit on each page. I’ve also added a column that calculates the age of each individual at time of incident.
Please note as you examine the database print-out that City Security did not use the term “Ethnicity” but rather “Complexion” in Column “R”, and yes, Security really did spell Caucasian “Caucasion”. Note too that they assigned “European” as a Complexion, as well as some other puzzling entries.
Analyzing City Security’s Special Occurrence Reports (SORs) secured through Freedom of Information made me realize that there had to be some kind of database to print them out.
It took multiple attempts over several years but I finally secured their entire “CSIS” Excel spreadsheet.
What I discovered when I finally had the complete database in my hands was not only shocking and appalling, it was also infuriating. City Security had clearly made sure that “Complexion” was left off their Special Occurrence Reports. Your Security operation not only kept ethnicity “Complexion” records since at least January 2006, they lied to you, to me, and to the public about keeping such stats.
Someone designed this database and made a deliberate decision to include ethnicity data. Someone knew that this was wrong and tried to disguise the fact by using the euphemism “Complexion”. City Security staff were well aware the field existed because they diligently filled it on in the majority of their reports. How did this escape notice?
Also, I was before Council several times with deputations giving elected officials the same alerts. The City Security officer present would have heard my allegations about the Security database, known they were true, and yet she remained silent. Why?
A casual skim through Security’s database forces the conclusion that no one (Security management, the Director of Facilities & Property Management, Corporate Services, or any elected official) ever took a serious look through City Security’s database—or if they did, they decided to become complicit in the cover-up.
Even Jeremiah Brenner Management Consulting who conducted the 2009 “Security E3 Review” and wrote about the database failed to alert the City Manager about the abuse of process festering there.
If you examine the database as I have—through the lens of the McMurtry/Curling “Roots of Youth Violence” Report, the Peel Youth Charter, and the Mississauga Youth Plan—you’ll truly understand just how deceptive the City was.
Next, Freedom of Information requests filed 2007 through 2014 has confirmed that your statement that “the City treats all its residents fairly regardless of language or ethnicity” is also false.
Here’s a quick example that shows citizens are not treated fairly.
For its own reasons, the City of Mississauga ensured that City Security was exempt from the Province’s public complaints system provided by Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Instead, in March 2008 you and Councillors allowed City Security to investigate themselves. No doubt they will deny it, but Freedom of Information confirms that they did investigate themselves—contrary to City’s Security Public Complaints policy.
As far as I can determine, the City of Mississauga has the only municipal security operation in Ontario that denies its citizens access to the independent public complaints process provided by the Province. Our complaints still go to the Security bosses to “investigate”. A citizen with a complaint against City Security therefore gets anything but fair treatment.
It gets worse.
Even on the City’s own property/facilities, Corporate Security’s database confirms that citizens are treated unfairly!
At times the City hires security guards from a private company like First Response for special events, and also for Transit.
So (for example) if you are banned or arrested at the City Centre Transit Terminal by a “contract” security guard and you have a complaint, you can file it with Ontario’s Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services for an independent investigation.
If you’re banned/arrested at the same terminal for the same reason, but by City of Mississauga Security, there’s no independent provincial route. The only avenue for your complaint is through the City—where the very people you are complaining about get to decide whether your complaint is valid. And then “investigate” it.
As I’ve already advised Council, former Transit Security boss, Joe Cairney, managed to have underling Dan Stevanov investigate him regarding a public complaint. The outcome was entirely predictable, and the man complaining wasted his own time.
Had that person been banned by the City’s contracted private security, his complaint would have gone to the Province and been investigated independently.
I repeat, as far as I’m aware, the City of Mississauga has the only “in-house” security operation exempt from Bill 159’s Provincial complaints system. How is this treating all residents fairly?
Now here we are, April 16, 2015, 8 years later and the public still doesn’t know City Security’s “Complexion” statistics. Despite a Security Public Complaints Policy (approved by Council in 2008) directing otherwise, Security is still free to investigate itself.
You have frequently reminded me, Council, and even the public just how much Staff time I’ve taken up regarding Security and Staff conduct in general. Time responding to my questions. Time responding to my emails.
Steve Mahoney has an excellent quote on his Twitter account and it certainly applies to my experience dealing with City of Mississauga staff: “The truth is easier to remember.”
I also submit that the truth also takes far, far less time.
The truth is that on April 16, 2007 your Security Staff lied about not keeping Ethnicity and Age statistics, lied about treating all citizens fairly regardless of age or ethnicity—and then signed your name to their lies.
After my February 2, 2010 deputation, and after detailing some of the ways City Staff fail to comply with Corporate policies, procedures, and guidelines, you dismissed my allegations with:
It’s pretty serious when people can come before a public body and accuse Staff of doing something they are not guilty of.
Yes, Madam Mayor. But I submit that it’s far far far more serious when municipal staff whose mantra is “Trust, Quality, Excellence” repeatedly deny allegations that they know are true.
|CC:||City of Mississauga Council|
|City of Brampton Council|
|Town of Caledon Council|
|Peel Police Services Board|
|Integrity Commissioner, Robert J. Swayze|
|Ontario Ombudsman, Andre Marin|