Sometimes you can be procedurally correct and at the same time be really dumb. Such is the case in the Superior Court ruling that the Hamilton Integrity Commissioner had the right to investigate the actions of Cameron Kroetsch in his role as Chair of the Hamilton LGBTQ Advisory Committee. Kroetsch had been accused of posting information that had the effect of identifying two individual’s contrary to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Initially folks assumed Kroetsch had actually named them, but it turned out he had only referenced them by title. But the main point is that both names were already in the public realm through news coverage and through a document that was posted online and not redacted. In legalese it’s called “the horse is already out of the barn.” If common sense had prevailed the matter should have ended there.
Within two days of the court ruling. Kroetsch’s supporters raised the $15,000 in court costs he was assessed, nullifying any deterrent effect that might have had, and a cause celebre has been created. The $15,000 was apparently only a fraction of what this episode actually cost. Meanwhile, the city looks petty and vindictive, and the affair has hardly enhanced the stature and credibility of the Integrity Commissioner.
As for the LGBTQ Advisory committee, a glance at their slender 2021 annual report presented to council earlier this month suggests they might be better off as a private citizen committee delegating to council as other community groups do. Operating under the strictures of the Municipal Act seems to be a hindrance to getting much done.