On Sept. 17, 2010, more than a year after the Toronto Star first ran this photo, that same shot appeared again, this time on thestar.com in a story by urban affairs reporter Gail Swainson headlined “Vaughan mayor Linda Jackson comes out swinging”.
The new federal Thornhill Liberal nominee says the ruling Conservatives talk a good game but the time for talk is over. Karen Mock, an educational psychologist and consultant with a history of dealing with issues of human rights, hate crime and diversity, replaces former MP Susan Kadis heading into the next federal election.
Vaughan councillors agree a report by the city’s task force on democratic participation and renewal is both progressive and practical. But the overall response by Vaughan’s council members to the report’s 16 recommendations was lukewarm.
The nine who make up Vaughan’s city council have a new rulebook to play by. Council voted Monday to adopt the Code of Ethical Conduct for Members of Council, a 32-page document that replaces an earlier code first adopted in 1996.
An investigation into the source of a city hall leak has concluded that the mayor, her executive assistant and a political ally “may hold the key” to the mystery. A June 19 report by former RCMP chief superintendent Ben Soave’s investigative firm, Ben Soave Associates (BSA), was commissioned by the City of Vaughan to uncover how and why copies of cheques and other documents were delivered to media outlets in anonymous brown envelopes late last year.
Former mayor Michael DiBiase faces 27 charges stemming from an audit into his 2006 municipal election campaign books. The audit by Ken Froese and Glen Davison uncovered several apparent contraventions of the Municipal Elections Act in DiBiase’s campaign records, including overspending his $120,419 campaign limit by $2,712 and accepting ineligible contributions.
Municipal Affairs Minister Jim Watson says he isn’t the one to fix city hall — you are. “There’s this sense that I can go in and basically take over Vaughan and act as mayor,” Watson told an editorial board of reporters from Vaughan Today and its sister publications last week. “Well, I don’t have that authority and I suspect even if I did, I wouldn’t be riding on a white horse into Vaughan to take charge.”
The will of the people has moved city politicians to action. After months of intense public pressure and auditor scrutiny, the city’s audit and operational review committee is set to launch a comprehensive review of council’s expense policy.
The 2010 municipal election is still a year and a half away. That much is certain. What isn’t is who will vie for the nine seats on city council, though speculation has been running high in recent months and shows no sign of cooling off.
Progressive Conservative leadership hopeful Frank Klees sees too much red at Queen’s Park and says it’s time to do something about it. During a brief editorial board meeting in the Vaughan Today newsroom Monday, the Newmarket-Aurora MPP discussed provincial issues and his leadership bid.
Vaughan’s city councillors are seeking outside legal advice on what to do with a damaging compliance audit into the 2006 campaign books of a municipal candidate. It’s become a familiar refrain at city hall: Similar campaign audits of Mayor Linda Jackson and Councillor Bernie DiVona each prompted council to seek both independent legal advice and ultimately charges. The difference this time is the target of the audit: former mayor Michael DiBiase.
Councillor Bernie DiVona’s political fate is now in the hands of the city’s independent prosecutor. At a special meeting Tuesday, DiVona’s colleagues heard advice from Timothy Wilkin that DiVona should be charged for apparent contraventions of the Municipal Elections Act uncovered in an audit of his 2006 campaign books. Council agreed to retain Wilkin to pursue charges against DiVona.