Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Opponents of Nuke Dump Site Decry Report on 'Unlawful' Secret Meetings

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Opponents of Nuke Dump Site Decry Report on 'Unlawful' Secret Meetings

Article excerpt

Groups want ombud to probe nuke dump secrecy

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TORONTO - Groups fighting a proposed nuclear waste storage site on the shores of Lake Huron called on Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Thursday to establish penalties for municipalities who break the law by holding secret meetings.

In addition, the groups -- Save our Saugeen Shores and the Southampton Residents Association -- called on Ontario's ombudsman to review the circumstances that led to a report critical of Bruce County council for meeting nuclear waste representatives without telling anyone or documenting the discussions.

"This was a major error of provincewide importance in light of the evidence of an 8.5-year egregious disregard of the law and the public's right to open and transparent government," Rod McLeod, the group's lawyer, said in a statement.

"The current end result trivializes important provincial legislation designed to preserve transparency in municipal government."

Last month, an outside investigation concluded the municipal politicians in the region that is home to one of the world's largest nuclear power plants violated provincial law.

However, the report concluded the officials did not violate the Municipal Act deliberately, something the groups said was nonsense.

"The evidence was overwhelming that the mayors knew exactly what they were doing and that it was unlawful," their statement said.

Overall, McLeod said, the investigation failed to treat the violations with the seriousness deserved and the lack of sanctions for a breach in the Municipal Act is not good enough.

Wynne had no comment but a spokesman for the Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin suggested changing the current legislation was not in the cards because municipalities already have the power to establish penalties for failing to follow the rules.

"Ultimately, all elected officials have a responsibility to follow provincial legislation and are accountable to the people who elected them," Mark Cripps said in an email. …

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