The MississaugaWatch Sniff Test

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If the answer is not an UNQUALIFIED "Yes!", ask "Why not?" and proceed with extreme caution.


MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

Hazel McCallion knew precisely what Conflict of Interest is (newly-discovered video confirms)

November 4th, 2010  

Simply by accident I discovered footage of Councillor Maja Prentice and Mayor Hazel McCallion discussing conflict of interest in a May 2008 General Committee meeting. Since General Committees aren’t televised, this video is the only full record in existence of this exchange between the two. It’s crystal clear from what both McCallion and Prentice say that they “get” the concept of conflict of interest.

This video and transcript will be shared with the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry folks, especially Commission Counsel, William McDowell. Oddly, during testimony under oath, the Mayor appeared uncertain as to what conflict of interest was. Clearly she had forgotten that she knew all along!

As per what’s become routine, first the video, then the transcript. And for the record, what the City of Mississauga General Committee minutes record about this Prentice-McCallion “it’s almost like conflict of interest” exchange.

Video: Conflict of Interest: video confirms that Hazel McCallion and Maja Prentice “got” it. (6:39 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT BEGINS]

Councillor Pat Saito —Chair (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

On Item 7, then Councillor Prentice? And Councillor Adams if you want to press your button and go back on.

Councillor Maja Prentice (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Thank you, very much and I’ll make my comment first. And I did speak with our City Manager about this when we had our one-on-one.

But, I have a lot of difficulty with how the committee is made up —that does the assessment. We have, according to the report, there are two individuals —one the executive director of the art gallery and the other one, the general manager of a dance creation company sitting on the committee.

I am very uncomfortable with that. And I know it’s made up —the City Manager explained to me that there are  many other municipalities that have the committee made up based on this format.

But when you have groups that are applying and two individuals in this case, of the groups who applied actually sat on the assessment committee, I think that is inappropriate. It’s almost like talking about conflict of interest.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

[whispers into camera] You should see the Violence and Vandalism Group.

Councillor Maja Prentice (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

And I find it interesting that the [inaudible] report talks about the dance company, actually their office is closed until January of 2009? Like I find —I don’t know—

someone (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Well that—

Councillor Pat Saito —Chair (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Sorry, Councillor Prentice, can you refer to a page that you’re—

Councillor Maja Prentice (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Yes,  yes. With regards to the make up of the committee, that’s on 7-M. With regard to the fact that the office is closed, that’s on 7-O. After the bullet points, it talks about that “all applicants except one have been informed verbally, the outcomes of the assessment process and have been provided with feedback from the assessment committee to facilitate their organization.”

Now, “The organization that has not been contacted is the dance company because the office is closed until January 20th.” I just found that— what kind of a grant do people who have their place shut down for half a year.

City Manager Janice Baker (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

This report was dated January 11th —

Councillor Maja Prentice (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Oh, I see.

City Manager Janice Baker (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

So that was just a two week period.

Councillor Maja Prentice (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Oh, that’s right if it is a repeat. [sic]

But I do want to make the point that I am concerned about the make-up of the committee. There certainly are many many arts individuals that are very knowledgeable about the different groups in the municipality that don’t necessarily [air quotes begin] work for [air quotes end] a committee, [air quotes begin] work for [air quotes end] an arts group or sit on a board of directors of an arts group.

I would feel much more comfortable if you were drawing people to sit on this committee that are knowledgeable of the arts in general in the city and are not representative of any specific group.

Now I know they don’t vote on it. I understand all that. They excuse themselves when their grant comes forward to be discussed or voted upon. And I understand that. But the presence of the individual on the committee, I think, gives an incorrect and inappropriate message.

So I don’t know why you can’t get people that are basically arts-oriented people that aren’t necessarily associated or work for a specific arts group.

Councillor Pat Saito —Chair (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Sonja, would you like to respond?

Mississauga Arts Council deputant (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Well, first of all, we invited two people from the members of the community—

[DIP TO WHITE]

Mississauga Arts Council deputant (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

[long response] the application [then inaudible]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

[whispers into camera] Did she answer her question?

Mississauga Arts Council deputant (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

—of criteria that are important, et cetera.

Councillor Maja Prentice (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

And through you, Madam Chair, I understand. The City Manager was very detailed in her explanation to me and I understand why you’re doing what you’re doing. I just do not think it is appropriate. And I’ll leave it at that. I mean we’re not going to agree on everything.

I would feel much more comfortable if you had individuals who were not employees, individuals that were in the arts groups but not on the board of directors. And they’re —I can think off the top of my head of at least half a dozen just like that, that would be qualified to do this.

So I’ll leave it with you. You have to make your decisions. It’s an issue I disagree with quite strongly.

The other question—

Councillor Pat Saito —Chair (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Sorry. Councillor Prentice, if I could interrupt you for a minute, Mayor McCallion would like to respond to that particular issue. So if we could let her jump in [inaudible]

Mayor Hazel McCallion (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

I think that Councillor Prentice has raised an excellent question. When I set up the Arts Task Force, I made a point of not having anybody on the task force that was involved directly in any organization in the arts in Mississauga. To get a truly independent opinion.

And we just had a situation with the Arts Council, you’re aware of it [inaudible]

Mississauga Arts Council deputant (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Yes

Mayor Hazel McCallion (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

Yuh, very well aware of it, where somebody sat on the Arts Council that ran a business in the Arts and then unfortunately turned into an unfortunate situation with complaints to the Mayor et cetera. So, I think Councillor Prentice has raised an excellent question.

I think there are people out there that should not be involved in any group that is applying for a grant. And I don’t know what you can do about it, but I feel just as strongly about it as Councillor Prentice does. I have to tell you.

I think it’s —even if, I mean once the person sits on the group they get to know all the people that are on the group. And even if they declare a conflict of interest, it doesn’t bode well.

We’ve had this situation, [inaudible] you’re well aware of it.

Mississauga Arts Council deputant (Mississauga General Committee, May 14, 2008):

We can certainly review it. Of course the other option is we follow the model of the community—

[DIP TO BLACK}
[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT END]

GENERAL COMMITTEE
THE CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF MISSISSAUGA
http://www.mississauga.ca
WEDNESDAY, MAY 14, 2008 – 9:00 A.M.

7. Overview of Cultural Granting Programs

Corporate Report dated May 2, 2008 from the City Manager and Chief Administrative
Officer with respect to an overview of Cultural Granting Programs.

RECOMMENDATION

That the report dated May 2, 2008 from the City Manager and Chief Administrative
Officer on the Overview of Cultural Granting Programs be reviewed for information.

Councillor Maja Prentice expressed concern about how the grant program was
administered. She noted that there were individuals on the grants committee who
represented groups that were applying for grants. Councillor Prentice advised that there
are many arts-minded individuals within the community who could have been considered
to participate in the discussions.

Ms. Zainub Verjee, Director Office of the Arts, noted that the grants committee was
structured similarly to the Canada Council for the Arts, and that the structure encourages
a peer review of grant applications. She noted that when the applications of specific
grants for individuals on the Committee were brought forward, the individuals noted a
conflict of interest and left the room.

Mayor McCallion commented on the situation and expressed support for Councillor
Prentice’s observations. She suggested that those who are applying for grants should not
be involved in assessing grant applications and that next year the composition of the
committee should be further reviewed.

Councillor Katie Mahoney moved receipt of the Corporate Report. The motion was voted
on and carried.

Received (Councillor K. Mahoney)
Recommendation GC-0443-2008
FA.16.Com

MISSISSAUGA NEWS

Louie Rosella
Sep 23, 2010 – 1:15 PM

Mayor was ‘free’ to promote son’s project

… “I believe I was free to encourage the sale of property in order of the direction of Council (for the past 15 years)…to get a (hotel and) convention centre in the city core,” she said. “I was free to be able to promote the project…I was doing my job as mayor.”

McCallion declared a conflict when the matter came before Council and also said she had no involvement when it came to City staff processing site-plan applications for the project.

Lax hammered away at the mayor, accusing her of “ignoring” her apparent conflict of interest when the matter wasn’t formally before City Council.

There’s nothing in the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act that says you “can’t get involved in an issue before it comes to council,” McCallion responded.

Please click here to read the rest of the article.

FACT. Just seven days later, at the May 21, 2008 Mississauga Council meeting, Mayor McCallion would fail to declare conflict of interest regarding an item on the agenda pertaining for her son’s company, World Class Developments. 

HAZEL MCCALLION CONFLICT OF INTEREST: FAILURE TO DECLARE AUDIO MAY 21, 2008 (1:22 min)

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube)

Signed,

The Mississauga Muse
MISSISSAUGAWATCH

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