How much did the legal opinion “Peter McCallion, for material purposes, was not actually the son of the Mayor” cost the City of Mississauga?

February 26th, 2011  

Today’s Blog is a continuation of our last Blog, “Mississauga Council presentation on Hazel McCallion’s Conflict of Interest: the McLean & Kerr Report –Setting the Record Straight”. Both Blog entries are for the historical record and for inclusion in the February 23, 2011 Mississauga Council meeting minutes as well as those of Brampton, Caledon and Peel.

On Wednesday, I addressed City of Mississauga Council to raise concerns about the City’s two outside legal opinions relating to Hazel McCallion’s conflict of interest.

I presented a video deputation on an omission in the McLean & Kerr legal opinion.

Then during Public Question Period I asked how much the City paid for the second legal opinion —provided by Stanley Makuch (Cassels Brock Lawyers) who concluded that Hazel McCallion could not have been in conflict of interest because “Peter McCallion for material purposes, was not actually the son of the Mayor”. Yes. Really…

Today’s video is a fun-watch. It’s me asking that question and the response I received.

This video was created in triple split-screen. Top right video shows Councillors Katie Mahoney and Pat Saito (both staunchly opposed to the Judicial Inquiry) and their reaction to  “Peter McCallion for material purposes, was not actually the son of the Mayor”.

Last, Special Thanks to Rogers Cable 10 Mississauga for their segment (top left).

As always, the video transcript.

Peter McCallion for material purposes was not actually the son of Mayor. This Legal Opinion cost?… (2:51 min)

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

[VIDEO TRANSCRIPT]
[Note: Inquiry transcripts or McLean & Kerr sometimes used for accuracy purposes]

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

I’ve also Public Question Period, some questions on it. Do you think I can ask it now?

Frank Dale, Acting Mayor (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

Yeah. Sure. Go ahead.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

Thank you.

I’ll just see here. I just want to go to this thing here to kind of help you out. It is testimony on August 10, 2010 and I’m asking this for historical purposes and for my own research.

It’s the City Solicitor, here as “A” and “Q” is the cross-examination by Inquiry Counsel, William McDowell. And Mr. McDowell says:

 13                 Q:   Right.  And then you'll see, going
 14  down that page, that he—

and “he” is Stanley Makuch of Cassels Brock, who is the second outside legal opinion. So McDowell says:

  —And then you'll see, going
 14  down that page, that he comes to the conclusion that Peter
 15  McCallion, for material purposes, was not actually the son
 16  of the Mayor.

That’s the City’s second outside legal opinion. And Ms. Bench says:

 17                 A:   Yeah. 

McDowell:

 18                 Q:   Go to the next page, page 7.  He came
 19  to the view, I gather, that unless there was a financially
 20  dependent relationship that Peter McCallion could not be
 21  considered to be the son of the Mayor?

Bench, “That’s right” or:

 22                 A:   That's correct. 

And McDowell:

 23                 Q:   All right.  Apart from this letter,
 24  did he ever offer any authority for that view?

And Ms. Bench.

 25                 A:   He never offered an explanation at

2740

  1  all.  And it's contrary to the case he cited and it's
  2  contrary to the definition of child in the lac -- in the
  3  Act— 

And so my question has to do with the second outside legal opinion and I’m not sure whether I’m allowed to have this answer. But how much did the City pay for the second outside legal opinion? I know I’m allowed to ask. I’m just now sure if I can get the answer to that. Or— Ms Bench?

Frank Dale, Acting Mayor (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

Do we have those figures available?

Mary Ellen Bench, City Solicitor (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

I don’ t have that information with me here.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

Yeah, I didn’t think so. Okay, that’s my—

Frank Dale, Acting Mayor (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

But it would be public information, correct?

Mary Ellen Bench, City Solicitor (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

It’s information that can be provided, yes.

Frank Dale, Acting Mayor (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

Then I’d ask that, or give direction that it be provide it.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

OK. Thank you, thank you so much. And thanks for letting me present this.

[DIP TO BLACK]
[Music:“Don’t Crash the Ambulance” by Mark Knopfler]

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT ENDS. LOGO]

Frank Dale, Acting Mayor (Mississauga Council meeting, February 23, 2011)

There’s been a motion for receipt. All in favour? Opposed if any? Carried. Thank you.

If someone would call the Mayor back.

Additional Resources

87 MIS001009003 Conflict of Interest – Ltr November 11, 2009 – from Mary Ellen Bench To Stanley Makuch (Cassels Brock Lawyers) Letter 11-Nov-09 6-Jul-10 Liz McIntrye for Mayor

This is a scan of Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Exhibit Number 87, Conflict of Interest – Ltr November 11, 2009 – from Mary Ellen Bench To Stanley Makuch (Cassels Brock Lawyers)”. We respectfully request being advised of any errors between our scan and the original (above) from the Mississauga Judicial Inquiry website.


Corporate Services Department
Legal Services
City of Mississauga
300 City Centre Drive
MISSISSAUGA ON L5B 3C1
[City of MISSISSAUGA Logo] Leading today for tomorrow
Tel: 905-615-3200
FAX: 905-896-5106
www.mississauga.ca
WRITER’S DIRECT LINE (905) 615-3200 ext 5393
EMAIL: Maryellen.bench@mississauga.ca

November 11, 2009

Mr. Stanley Makuch
Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
2100 Scotia Plaza, 40 King Street West
Toronto, Ontario
MSH 3C2

Dear Mr. Makuch:

Re: Conflict of Interest

Receipt after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 6, 2009 of your letter dated November 6, 2009 is
confirmed.

I was extremely taken aback by the content of your letter. You were retained by me on
September 18th to provide an opinion to me, not to Council. You accepted this retainer, and
there is no basis for you to now assert that Council is your client. By letter agreement dated April
19, 2007, The Corporation of the City of Mississauga retained Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
to provide legal services as required by the City. That retainer letter is very clcar that in carrying
out assignments on behalf of the City you take instructions from me or persons who I designate.
In particular, I draw your attention to paragraph 4 of the retainer and the sentence: “The City
Solicitor is the principal contact of the City for all practice areas.”

This is entirely consistent with and conforms to the commentary under Rule 2.02(1.1) as follows:

“Further, given that an organization depends upon persons to give instructions, the
lawyer should ensure that the person giving instructions for the organization is
acting within that person’s actual or ostensible authority.”

The retainer with your firm clearly states that I am the person with authority to represent the
City, and you are bound by my instructions. The RFPQ to which you responded clearly
identified that you are being retained to provide supplemental legal services. There is nothing in
the retainer that requires me to explain to you how I use your work product. In fact, in the 20
years that I have practiced as an in-house municipal lawyer I have never seen a retainer letter that
would require me to provide you with an explanation regarding how I use your work product.

When I spoke to you about assisting me on this matter, Mike Minkowski was present and we
spoke to you from my office on speaker phone. We were very clear in our instructions
concerning the timelines for this project. I advised you that I would like to receive it Thursday,
September 24, 2009 and that under no circumstances could it be any later than noon Friday,

Form 1012 (Rev 06/01)

MIS.001.009.003


2

September 25, 2009 as it had to be delivered to Members of Council with their agenda packages
that afternoon. You agreed to this time commitment. Notwithstanding the fact that you assured
me that you could have the opinion ready in that time, at one point you even joked that you
thought I might be asking you to do it over the weekend, you failed to deliver your opinion on
time, Not only did you fail to meet the clear timelines, you did not even have a courtesy to call
me and warn me that you were running into difficulties. Having reviewed the product you
produced, I found it very difficult to understand why you could not complete this matter within
the time frame specified.

You have stated that I disagree with your opinion. However, that is not the issue. I made it very
clear to you from the outset that this was to be your opinion. I also advised you that this was a
contentious matter and the reasons for your opinion must be clearly set out including relevant
legal authority to support any expressed opinion, The product that you provided to me, late,
failed to do this and included conjecture without supporting legal authority.

Finally, please be advised that I am declining your request that I explain to you how I used your
opinion for reasons set out above. If you cannot live by the terms of our retainer agreement,
please advise me forthwith and I will remove Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP from the list of
firms retained by The Corporation of the City of Mississauga.

Yours truly,

[signature]

Mary Ellen Bench , BA, LLB, CS
City Solicitor

cc Bernice Kam
Janine Kovach
Mark Young

MIS.001.009.004


and the McLean-Kerr Legal Opinion, September 24, 2009 (PDF)

HAZEL MCCALLION'S LIE AT THE MISSISSAUGA INQUIRY. City Staff are "very professional and they follow the policies very, very, very diligently. "

Comments are closed.


Bear