Sunday , 26 March 2023
Home Politics “Not so fast!”: Lawyer threatens legal challenge to snap vote on Barton injection site that caught opponents off-guard

“Not so fast!”: Lawyer threatens legal challenge to snap vote on Barton injection site that caught opponents off-guard

As reported by the Bay Observer last week, the surprise vote by Hamilton Board of Health to endorse a safe injection site on Barton Street had an orchestrated feel. The agenda did not contain a motion to endorse the site, yet several delegate in favour of the site appeared at council. Opponents of the site only learned of the possibility of the site being discussed by accident and managed to muster two delegates who were interrupted in their presentations and held to strict time limits. Those in favour of the site were accorded more latitude and were peppered with friendly questioning from councillors.

At one point Councillor Esther Pauls, apparently realizing something was up, asked Mayor Horwath if the matter was going to be voted on that day. The question seemed to fluster the mayor, who didn’t provide a direct answer, saying there might be an opportunity later for a motion. But at the end of the delegations it was they mayor herself who moved that the safe injection site be approved.

All of this has attracted a letter from Hamilton Lawyer Elvis Mizzau who. addressing the letter to the Mayor,  wrote in part:

“last minuteness seems to be the common theme of this specific process I write to you about this morning.”

“I appreciate the urgent need and immediacy for an additional Drug Injection Clinic in our great city.I have NO objection to the City desiring to fulfill that objective whatsoever. However, when I review the timelines of the Health Board Meeting of Monday February 13th, 2023 in terms of when the Agenda was released (Friday February 10th), the fact that an actual vote to approve the DIC was NOT even on the Agenda and the manner that the baton of the Mayor Chair was passed back and forth between yourself and Councillor Nann like the leader of a marching band with a future engagement within minutes, I do NOT see how a City Council vote today could pass Judicial Review.”

“Councillor Paul asked early in the Health Board Meeting if there was to be a vote later at that meeting. I have reviewed the meeting video in great detail and I do NOT need to remind you what your response to Councillor Paul was.”

“The delegates in support of the DIC at that meeting seemed incredibly well prepared probably because unlike the opposing delegate they had received notice well in advance. It looked orchestrated to the public.”

At Wednesday’s City council meeting as the matter came up for ratification Nann introduced an amendment that would make the endorsement of the site contingent on more public consultation. Councillor Pauls wanted more sites to be considered but failed to find support. Mizzau’ ‘s letter concluded, “I am very sensitive to the importance of due process and as a Hamilton Property Tax Payer, would like to avoid the inevitable legal expenses associated with a City Council’s need to defend its approval process in the legal system.”

The original Bay Observer story can be accessed here.


  • This drug addict fully supports a Safe Injection Site in Hamilton. But not at the expense of democracy. A functioning SIS exists currently while a permanent SIS is under construction in Ward 3. This action would place 2 SIS’s in a Ward of 30,000, whereas the country presently has an SIS for every 100,000 people. This is dangerous, because most overdoses in Hamilton occur in Wards 1 + 2.

    This addict also is concerned that clients at the Barton Street site would lose a degree of anonymity accessing health services on Hamilton’s main drag. Further, they would not have the protection of a wrap around facility adjacent a hospital or health care center, as Toronto’s 8 SIS’s have.

    Further, this constituent was horrified to the point of tears when the suggestion that objectors had been abusivecand verbally violent. In effect, this trumped any rebuttal.

    This addict/constituent asserts that Hamilton needs an SIS in a readily accessible location adjunst advanced medical care should the need (in all probability) arise.

  • Thanks so much for following and reporting on this John…I hope ward 3 and Hamilton residents become more aware of whats going on.
    Ward 3 resident Steve Devisser

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