Cornwall Ontario Councilor Maurice Dupelle Conflict of Interest Motion – Thoughts by Jamie Gilcig

Dupelle Jan 2012Cornwall Ontario – It’s frustrating being a rookie councilor in this insane group of elected officials this term in Cornwall Ontario.   While I do not always agree with Councilor Maurice Dupelle’s decisions I don’t think anyone can repute that he’s not the hardest working councilor this term.

He still knocks on doors, does his committee work, and sacrifices home and family to try and live up to the ideal of being a good governor for our city.   Sadly when you have only one vote of 11 and aren’t as ferocious as certain newspaper editors you can have road blocks.

One road block was penetrated this Monday as the councilors motion hit the floor and was allowed to dribble through although the wording of it is such that it probably will be beaten to death by management.

Here it is in its entirety.

Whereas, as part of their official capacities, the City of Cornwall’s Council Members are appointed to serve on many of the municipality’s Commissions, Boards and Committees; and

Whereas Council Members often sit on Board of Directors for external agencies and charitable organizations; and

Whereas “Transparency”means the principle that the municipality will conduct its business in an accessible, clear and visible manner and that it’s activities are open to examination by its stakeholders; and

Whereas it is not deemed for a councillor member who sits on a Commission, Board, Committee agency or charitable organization to have a direct or indirect pecuniary interest should a matter be brought to council regarding those Commissions, Boards, Committees, agencies and charitable organizations;

Whereas how a particular vote is cast, the nature of the effect of such a vote the motions of the municipal official or whether the members vote was the “deciding” one or not relevant to the result are considered irrelevant factors, it is desirable to project accountability and transparency and for that council member to abstain from the decisions  and the vote.

Whereas if such matters requiring financial assistance from the corporation of the City of Cornwall be brought to council regarding these Commissions, Boards, Committees, agencies and Charitable Organizations that a council Member sits on, that Member:

1. Shall disclose the interest before the matter is considered ;
2. Shall not participate in the discussion;
3. Shall not attempt to influence (before, during or after);
4. Shall note vote; and
5. Leave the meeting if it is closed to the public.

Now therefore, be it resolved that council direct administration to prepare a report, regarding whether or not this motion goes against the legal considerations on exercising power that may override the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act and may exceed the limits of authority.

I think it’s a beginning, but it can go a lot lot further.   For example.   City staff that decide to run for council have to give up their position if elected.  IE if you’re a nurse at Glen Stor Dun Lodge with political aspirations you can’t do both in Cornwall.  It’s either or.

Well the same should be for positions like Councilor Carr’s with Heart of the City and the many held by Elaine MacDonald.   Does it make sense having the head of the Labour Council being potentially privy to negotiations and information at City Hall related to union contracts; never mind her voting or influencing staff and other elected officials?

We now have two whistle blowing lawsuits with at least one related to direct assertions of Conflict of Interest; but some such as Ms MacDonald are pointing out the Pecuniary interest wording in the Municipal act; but answer me this; if you use your positions on boards such as Agape and the Art Gallery to help your election campaigning and win a seat (Ms MacDonald failed in the last election finishing third behind MPP Jim McDonell and Liberal Mark A MacDonald) wouldn’t that be a pecuniary interest as there’s an awesome salary, benefits, and pension for positions such as MPP?

I’d like to see Councilor Dupelle keep working at this; but I’d like to see language that clearly states that a newly elected  official must resign from any position that could be perceived by a reasonable person to be of conflict of interest and that any elected official cannot accept a position likewise during their term.

Does it make sense to see the Mayor & Councilor MacDonald lobby council for funding for a proposed University when they themselves sit on that committee?  Is that not clearly conflict of interest with the clear benefit for the group they sit on when funded, as they eventually were?

There is a group, of which I do belong for the record, here in Cornwall called the Big Flush who have stated that they will be campaigning to make sure that none of this council and the mayor are reelected in the next election in 2014.

Which Elected Official do you think has done the best job this term in Cornwall Ontario?

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Do you think councilor Dupelle has done a good job and do you think this council has the cojones to actually enact a real Conflict of Interest Compact with the voters of Cornwall Ontario?

You can post your comments below.



  1. What a great day Toronto Police find Rob Ford crack video on a hard drive
    Some idiot did a simple delete of the file…NOW Ford Nation can shut the heck UP

  2. You must realize that even the NDP party want nothing to do with Elaine. It is why her election results are so poor.
    She has never had to run for the local position nor ward off any competition.
    She has no local support and defnitely no provincial support.
    Acclamation is not a victory by any means. It only shows people have gotten smarter with regards to their options.

    The party is fed up with her self serving antics of accusing everyone else of wrong doing all the while riding the easy road paved by the people she claims to represent.

    Fear not Conrwall free news she is meerly a thorn in the and will never amount to anything more…

  3. Mr. Editor, (Jamie)

    Agree, this is a beginning ! But, what about members of the public, that get “placed” on City Committees ? Will, this new proposed motion, cover those committees ? If not, they sure as hell should ? The conflicts of interest on several city committees is a joke.
    It behooves me, that Conc. Carr, the big honcho at Heart of the City, can still deny publically, that he is not in a conflict of interest. Next election, please hurry up !

  4. Author

    That’s a very good point. Maybe the Lay committee should not be made up of members of Council? I know I personally applied to be on 5 committees after the Freeholder ran a complaint from Councilor Thibault saying that few people were applying.

    Councilor Grant mumbled something months later that they said I couldn’t be on one because I’m media which is utter nonsense.

    We have to have real change. Not just of the monkeys but of how we do things.

  5. Basic bull crap motion, does nothing, means nothing. My grandfather told me at a young age that if a man’s handshake meant nothing than his signature was no better. My point being that either the individual sworn in to fairly represent the electorate understands the ethics and responsibilities of the position or they do not. Cannot teach commonsense. Time to reduce the number of councilors in this small community, return to the ward system and increase the quality of our leadership.

    The real question regarding this display of sudden conscience is why now ? Could it possibly have anything to do with the fact that we are fast approaching an election year ? I wonder……….Mmmm.

  6. Conflict of Interest // What makes this issue difficult to understand ? My understanding is that:
    An apparent conflict of Interest is determined by the perception of a ” reasonable person ”
    ( a Hypothetical member of the public ) who is reasonably well informed .
    Such a person is to have a reasonable perception that a conflict exists , even if it is not a major one.
    Whether a Conflict of Interest is apparent or potential or real the consequences are the same .
    The Conflict must be remedied . A potential Conflict of Interest incorporates a concept of forseeability.
    An example : when a public official’s personal interest are contrary to his or her public business .( Elaine )?
    Another example : Outside employment in which the interest of one job contradicts another. Carr ?
    Yet another example : Family interest where a close relative or friend applies for employment . Kilger ?

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