The MississaugaWatch Sniff Test

This question is the MISSISSAUGAWATCH Sniff Test for all Ontario municipal Mayors and Councillors:

Do you support asking the Ontario government to extend the investigative authority of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities?

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


MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

Youth to Mississauga/Peel institutions/leaders “You gotta come out of your comfort zone, come from your office…”

February 23rd, 2009  

I’ve been planning my 2009 New Year’s Resolutions for almost a year now. In some ways I knew that they’d coincide with those that I was working on for 2008.

Only I didn’t make these resolutions up. They were written for me during a conversation I had with a “street” Youth last February. Since then I’ve tried striking up conversations with other Youth but I’m not often successful. And the Youth who do engage me in conversation aren’t really my “target” group.

I know it’s stupid —counter-intuitive, but I really want to talk to the Youth who are as Unconnected with Institutions as I’ve become.

I want this “YouthSpeak” for the record.

Please remember that this conversation occurred a full year ago —before Peel’s Summer Spike of Homicides, the Market Meltdown, fears of a recession, the release of the McMurtry/Curling “Roots of Youth Violence” and fears of a depression.

Watching the video I made (his image is not shown and both our voices are altered) and reading this transcript might help readers understand why The Mississauga Muse has taken to the buses and transit terminals. Tried to come out of her “comfort zone”…

I know with absolute certainty that I’m not hearing Youth Voices through government summits, agencies, committees (or their “community partners”) and “task forces”. So.

Youth to Mississauga/Peel Politicians: “COME OUT OF YOUR OFFICES AND YOUR COMFORT ZONES!”  (3 min)

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

What follows is a TRANSCRIPT:

YOUTH::

Basically what I wanted to say was we need to develop a more positive relationship between young people and law enforcement. Not even just law enforcement alone but teachers and citizens because I don’t see a good harmonious relationship between The Young and The Old.  There seems to be a split, like there’s a divide or something.

I mean it’s like a cancer going on right now.

Children are not gettin’ educated. You’ve got too much violence on the streets. There’s not enough educational opportunities. There’s not a lot of job opportunities —there’s not opportunities in skills or trades. Like no one’s willing to teach young people nothin’.

So what do you expect them to do?

They’re gonna be in the malls. They’re gonna be on the street corners.  They’re gonna be doin’ these things because nobody gives a ****. You dig?

So. If you as a person, who has children, you’re gonna grow up your children in the world and cater just to your babies alone, when growing up with people just like them who are going through the same **** they’re goin’ through, and you’re not gonna cater to all of them kids, just your own children?

You’re a fraudulent parent then, coz you can’t be a parent to just one child, especially in this day and time. You gotta be involved in your children’s life.

You’re got to be involved, PERIOD.

MISSISSAUGAWATCH:

If there’s one message you want to give the Mayor and the Councillors and anybody that has power, the Commissioners and stuff like that, for Youth, and to speak for the Youth, and I’m not worried about the Youth at this point, who are more than well-taken care of, but the ones you care about, what would it be?

YOUTH:

The message would be?….

MISSISSAUGAWATCH:

And don’t feel you have to say something right away. I can turn this camera off and you can collect your thoughts.

YOUTH:

I’m speaking for a community of people right now. I’m not representing Youth. I’m representing a whole genre of people. So the basic thing would be —RESPECT us, help us, help us to be self-sufficient and we’ll help you. You just gotta give and take. If you want us to be self-sufficient, you gotta help us.

You gotta come out of your comfort zone, come from your office, come from your desks, put down your job titles…

Please do that. Like literally. Come off that way of thinking and actually come into the streets and talk to the people that you claim to represent. You must! There’s not even an option no more!

Since our conversation, I’ve spent an intense year researching and observing all manner of youth-related committees and thrusts. I can state with 100% confidence that I GET IT.

FREEZE-FRAMES FROM YOUTUBE VIDEO: YOUTH TO MISSISSAUGA/PEEL POLITICIANS "COME OUT OF YOUR OFFICES!"

I get why The Poor are screwed over, are destined to get poorer and why more Poor will join their ranks.

I GET IT why and how so many of our at-riskiest of at-risk Youth are betrayed by the institutions ostensibly there to serve them.

FREEZE-FRAMES FROM YOUTUBE VIDEO: YOUTH TO MISSISSAUGA/PEEL POLITICIANS "COME OUT OF YOUR OFFICES!"

And there’s not a single thing that I can do to change it.

All that I can continue to do is bear witness and document what isn’t happening.

And that’s 2009 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION #2.

Signed,

The (YOUTH: I vow to bear witness and document what isn’t happening) Mississauga Muse

MISSISSAUGAWATCH "QUIS CUSTODIET IPSOS CUSTODES?"

Comments

5 Responses to “Youth to Mississauga/Peel institutions/leaders “You gotta come out of your comfort zone, come from your office…””

  1. Anonymous on February 24th, 2009 10:57 am

    Check out the new sunshine law violation reports on ombudsman.on.ca. Eyepopping stuff. What’s in Emo’s water?

  2. The Mississauga Muse on February 24th, 2009 1:38 pm

    Hey there, Anonymous and thanks for the tip!

    To make it easier for readers I hotlinked the URL that you provided.

    Cut-and-pasted from the Ontario Ombudsman’s website:

    February 20, 2009 New Open Meetings Reports Issued: Ombudsman finds two violations of “Sunshine Law” in townships of Emo and NipissingTORONTO (February 20, 2009) – For the first time since the province’s new enforcement system for open municipal meetings came into effect a year ago, Ontario Ombudsman André Marin has found two municipalities in contravention of the “sunshine law” provisions of the Municipal Act. Learn More

    Here’s the deal though. Important for people to remember. At least the townships of Emo and Nipissing allowed their citizens closed meeting investigations by the Ontario Ombudsman. That means something.

    Most Ontario municipalities (aka evil empires) ducked the independent provincial oversight that the Ontario Ombudsman would’ve provided by hiring their own “investigators”. And this is a liberal typin’ at you… we can all blame the McGuinty government for allowing Ontario’s municipal evil empires that “we’ll let municipalities hire their own faux-ombudsmen” loophole in Bill 130.

    And of course blame the powerful lobbying by AMO (Association of Municipalities of Ontario).

    Based on my two-plus years’ worth of Freedom of Information research on the City of Mississauga, I can tell you this… if the Province ever does give The Ontario Ombudsman full investigative powers into municipalities our collective asses would clunk to the floor at the cesspools and swill he’d find.

    I suspect too that both McGuinty and Tory know how bad the Accountability  G     A                      P            IN  G          G    A                        P is. And that’s why neither will let The Ontario Ombudsman in.

    Ontarians would have it confirmed the degree that we’ve been lied to by our city halls —and DUPED.

    Thanks for the tip, Anonymous!

    [UPDATE FEBRUARY 26, 2009: SPECIAL THANKS TO A READER FOR GIVING US-CITIZENS A HEADS-UP VIA EMAIL:

    Just to update you on something you mentioned in the comments on your blog yesterday, the Township of Emo is no longer using Ombudsman Andre Marin as its investigator for closed meetings. On Feb. 10, Emo council voted to revoke Mr. Marin’s appointment as its investigator. It is now using an independent investigator, Mr. Paul Heayn.

    Since The Council of the Township of Emo voted such that Emo is no longer using The Ontario Ombudsman as its investigator for closed meetings, the Township of Emo now joins the ranks for other municipal evil empires

  3. Justice William O. Douglas on February 25th, 2009 9:55 pm

    “Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order […] and the like.”

    “The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom.”

    The privacy and dignity of our citizens [are] being whittled away by sometimes imperceptible steps. Taken individually, each step may be of little consequence. But when viewed as a whole, there begins to emerge a society quite unlike any we have seen — a society in which government may intrude into the secret regions of a [person’s] life.

    It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.

    – Justice William O. Douglas

  4. The Mississauga Muse on February 27th, 2009 12:30 pm

    This comment was left at by Commentguy at the citizen alert, “WHAT TO DO IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD HAS HAD AN INCIDENT INVOLVING MISSISSAUGA CORPORATE SECURITY OR CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF MISSISSAUGA STAFF”. I reproduce it here as a follow-up to the erosion of freedom comment left (above)

    You wrote:

    Hey Muse   smiley

    Check this out. It’s an editorial written by a student at Humber in the news department about FOI requests.

    Thought you might find it interesting:

    http://www.humberetc.com/displayArticle.php?id=1446&sid=19

  5. The Mississauga Muse on February 27th, 2009 12:37 pm

    This was my response to Commentguy in the citizen alert, “WHAT TO DO IF YOU OR YOUR CHILD HAS HAD AN INCIDENT INVOLVING MISSISSAUGA CORPORATE SECURITY OR CORPORATION OF THE CITY OF MISSISSAUGA STAFF” I reproduce it here as a follow-up to the erosion of freedom comment left (above) and Commentguy’s link to the Humber article.

    Hey Commentguy,

    You wrote:

    Hey Muse   smiley

    Check this out. It’s an editorial written by a student at Humber in the news department about FOI requests.

    Thought you might find it interesting:

    http://www.humberetc.com/displayArticle.php?id=1446&sid=19

    WOW, Humber’s News Editor, Kassina Ryder really nailed it with “Nothing free about Canada’s access to information act” thanks for the heads-up!

    And her first three paragraphs are DEAD-ON!

    The plan for this column was to find shocking statistics about the few people who make use of Canada’s access to information laws and call on you, my audience, to exercise your rights as Canadians. The Access to Information Act allows individuals to request information from provincial institutions while the Freedom of Information laws allow information to be obtained from the federal level. That means if you have ever wanted to know how much your local mayor spent on business trips last year, you can find out – in theory.

    The numbers I planned to find would reveal how few Canadians actually use the Access to Information Act and I was going to implore you to cast off the chains of apathy and take what is rightfully yours – information, your “right to know.”

    But I was wrong. The problem isn’t that people don’t care about what’s going on behind closed doors, it’s that the doors are guarded by a request process that can take years and costs thousands of dollars.

    I’m already way over $2,000 for my own investigations into the City of Mississauga’s “efficient” style of business-governance and I suspect that I’m only about 1/5 done!

    Love her “in theory”. What “in theory” means is the policies and procedures are indeed in place (Recall I refer to those as “window dressing” to wave at how progressive Mississauga is in frontn of ROGERS Cable 10). For example, “in theory”, Mississauga’s public complaints Mississauga Corporate Security’s public complaints  procedure is “transparent” and holds Security staff “accountable” (it even says so in the Corporate Report).

    But then take “in theory” that  for a test drive and experience “The Reality”.

    What Ryder doesn’t mention are the poor saps whose first step is to ask/email municipal staff, being given an answer (aka strung a line or fed just a portion of what they needed to know) and they accept that when they should’ve filed Freedom of Informtion from the Get-Go.  I can think of 100% of the people with major gripes who call into The Mayor’s Hour.

    McCallion listens to those phone-in complaints and then does the old *FLUSH* with “I’ll refer it to staff”. (see second comment regarding ““City fraud probes raise oversight questions, councillors say” in yesterday’s National Post  in the Blog “CITY of MISSISSAUGA EMPLOYEE ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS plus MISSISSAUGAWATCH gets into it with a Security Guard at the Toronto Star”

    And Ryder’s last two paragraphs are also dead-on.

    The stance seems to be if time delays don’t discourage people, astronomical fees will. The municipal government in Windsor estimated it would cost more than $100,000 to process information requested by the student in the audit report. The Winnipeg police said it would cost more than $7,000 to process information about taser use. Seeing as it was a student being used to issue the requests the message is clear. Ordinary citizens simply cannot afford to get information.

    Freedom of information is a great concept, but wouldn’t it be nice if it were actually free?

    Not Free is one reason why I keep on keepin’ on.

    I know the single mom working minimum wage with two kids —one of which made it into the Mississauga Corporate Security database— can only dream of filing the Freedom of Information stuff that I currently am.

    Thanks again, Commentguy.

    Thought you might find it interesting:

    http://www.humberetc.com/displayArticle.php?id=1446&sid=19


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