We don’t need to know everything

October 13, 2017   ·   1 Comments

By Todd Taylor

In Orangeville it is just simply not possible for the public to know everything. Some events and situations unequivocally should be kept private to protect families and others involved in a legal process.

To be specific, as a tax-paying resident of Orangeville, I have no business knowing the details of the lawsuits brought forth by the families of Heidi Lee Ferguson and Adam Sprague.

It is awkward to write about two people who have lost their lives while living in our community, especially given that their lives ended under such difficult circumstances. The grief that these two separate events caused the families would be catastrophic. Like many of us in Dufferin county, my heart goes out to them.

In many ways, it is inhumane to see any news of a settlement in the media. The families would be forced to once again relive what happened to them and their loved ones.

The Orangeville Police Service has certainly suffered throughout the sad situation. I know first-hand how hard this time has been on the police officers.

Those of us who live in the area need to remember that our police officers are people, too. They have feelings. The memories of the time the loss of life occurred will be emblazoned upon their hearts for the rest of their lives.

I would never put blind faith in any leader, especially in these interesting times. But I think everyone in Orangeville should know that our police service is being led by people who have the utmost of integrity.

Police Board Chair Ken Krakar is local resident who has spent countless hours of his time working to make the service better. In addition, I want everyone who is reading this to know that I trust Chief Wayne Kalinski. Neither of these gentlemen have ever given me any reason to think otherwise. I take comfort knowing that our town is being led by individuals such as Chief Kalinski and PSB Chair Krakar, who would only have our best interests at heart.

I think it is worth mentioning the media’s role in disclosing the resolution of both lawsuits. The exposé regarding the realization of settlement was brought forth via strong investigative journalism by a local writer.

I appreciate the fact that the media questions events even if that means it might ruffle the feathers of our local politicians and institutions such as the police. It is offside and unnecessary to question those in the local media’s character and journalism skills. In a small community, with limited resources, we need our journalism professionals to hold others to account and provide the community with key information.

But in my view, this story should now move to the background with the hopes that all involved can move forward with their lives.

There is no doubt that our public officials must make difficult decisions on behalf of the those of us that live in the community. Decisions ending litigation against a police force simply must be made privately to protect those involved.

The very nature of private decision-making puts our leaders in a difficult situation. Ambiguity can create distrust and uprisings.

To me, we need to have avenues open for concerned members of the public to voice concerns about decisions made. In any event, municipal leaders should be held accountable for their actions. That is why I found the decision by Orangeville council to end our association with the integrity commissioner curious. The recent bills received for investigations were indeed around $6,000. To me, that is a small price to be paid for the reassurance that our politicians, town staff, and institutions such as the police are operating in a manner that is correct and just.

Candidly, I am certain that our elected officials would want the public to know that they acted in a fashion that demonstrated high integrity and critical thinking. Any local politician would want the public to know that they were exhibiting a strong moral compass.

Given the events of the last few years and the sensitive items that we ask our public officials to deal with, the continued employment of the integrity commissioner is a must.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Sosume330 says:

    Trevor I agree with you 100%. Under Chief Kalinski the OPS has become a much better organization that is more open and responsive to our community. More work needs to be done but they are on the right track.

    As to the trying to end the role of the Integrity Commissioner, I find this very troubling. Having read the Interim Commissioner’s interim report in the Council agenda for Monday the 16th of October, it is clear that a member of council is trying to intimidate the Commissioner and have him relieved of his position due to his investigating a complaint from a Town employee.

    This is totally unacceptable and a clear attempt to abuse his or her authority to deflect attention from an abuse of power.

    It clearly shows that the role of an Integrity Commissioner is really needed in our Town to check the improper abuses of power by some of our politicians.

    I for one look forward to finding out which of our members of council are allegedly abusing their position to berate and bully the town employees to their own purposes and then try to discredit the role of the Integrity Commissioner so that they are not found out. How stupid do they thing we are?


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