Agenda Notes: Of Metrolinx, and Integrity Commissioner Reports

By: Laura Steiner

Two ongoing stories highlight tonight’s agenda at Milton Council.

Metrolinx: In their initial “Big Move” initiative, there were plans to make Go Transit’s  Milton line to full-day Go Service by 2031.  Earlier this year Halton Regional Council’s Planning and Public Works committee was informed it was being moved to as late as 2041.  This is especially important to Council, as they begin planning for future growth.  Among the plans are two locations for potential Go Stations at Tremaine, north of Steeles,  to support a potential university campus.  The second is near the Trafalgar Rd, and Derry Rd area to attract commuters from the south end of Georgetown. Transit has a prominent role in future growth plans.

Among the questions here: Why? What changed? In the meantime, What are the plans to deal with the chronic parking problem at the Milton Go Station? Metrolinx’s Regional Planner Antoine Belaieff will have his chance at answering these questions, and more in his appearance to speak about the agency’s draft Regional Master Plan.

Integrity Commissioner Reports: These deal with the case of Arnold Huffman’s audit.  It’s the latest development in an ongoing story dating back to 2015.  Huffman’s opponent in the 2014 municipal elections Mike Bugala brought forward a request for an audit.  Among the allegations, that Huffman took cash donations over $25, which is illegal under the Municipal Elections Act.  His allegations surrounded the actions of Huffman’s supporters who supposedly raised a total of $3,429.10 from fundraisers.

The audit committee declined because of a lack of evidence, and they thought it was a ‘grey area’.   New evidence was found by  Councillors Zeeshan Hamid, and Rick Malboeuf.  They presented a motion asking for an audit.  The motion was passed.  The audit was undertaken, and found seven incidents where Councillor Huffman violated the Municipal Elections Act.  It was turned over to police in July.  Huffman filed complaints with the Integrity Commissioner against Malboeuf, and Hamid over their alleged conduct concerning one witness. The complaint against Councillor Hamid was cleared.  One was sent out for a legal opinion.  It’s the legal opinion, and resulting staff report that are featured on the agenda.

A lot of unanswered questions remain on this. Huffman’s audit hinted at other potential, offenders.  Shouldn’t others have their finances audited as well? The risk here is it would look like a witch hunt.  Auditors ignored the others, because the terms of reference restricted them to look at Huffman specifically.  But what about the ethical duty to root out potential corruption? It all combines to create a negative atmosphere as we head into the 2018 municipal election.