Ombudsman Allege City Councils to Be Meeting in Secret

One of the government watchdogs have reported to have received complaints about some municipal council in Ontario that is practicing in violation of the so-called Sunshine Law by commencing closed-door meetings and taking votes in secret.

Ombudsman Andre Marin asserted that almost all the municipal councils do comply with the rules on open meetings, but few are indeed “shocking secretive, suspicious and resentful of the very idea they can be investigated.” Marin pointed out that serious allegation of closed-door meetings commenced by the city council in Sudbury maybe categorized to have been exempted for personal matters about an identifiable individual. Every Sudbury councilor is allowed to keep a lawyer for the time they are being interviewed by the Ombudsman’s office, and ten flatly refused to be interviewed after being told they could not have legal representation.

Marin also pointed out that councilors in the southwestern town of Amherstburg have habitually engaged in reprehensible voting behind closed doors. The Ombudsman has now advised all the municipal councils to record an audio or video footage of all their meetings, even if they are private, for making sure that they are following the rules. Marin mentioned that “some councils are models of transparency; others are shockingly secretive and even defiant in the face of public complaints.” Marin implied that “transparency in government should not depend on where you live…(or) on the whims of local politicians.”

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