Friends of the Cawthra Bush
Greater Mississauga Area
Pages of Special Interest;
Other Table of Contents;
Residents' Association (CRRA)
GREATER MISSISSAUGA AREA (FCB)
This letter has been sent out to;
RE: The legalization
of government censorship and cover-up by way of
Dear Madam/Sir: Sept. 7, 2003
This matter is one that has set an Ontario wide legal precedence regarding FOI requests and its use in carrying out political agendas. In 1994, Hazel McCallion, the Mayor of Mississauga, in order to stop the community effort to save the Cawthra Bush, by using the FOI Act to obtain City records, directed her FOI Co-ordinator to stop processing our FOI requests and further more, promised we would not get the records. This was tape recorded and posted on our web-site. Over the years the City has carried out that promise mostly by making false statements about the efforts to get access to City records, in order to manipulate the process in their favor. What is most disturbing is how the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ont. (IPC), office has aided the City's political goals. This has included; ignoring evidence, making decisions that were not governing on the issues, refusing to recognize the fact it was a community group seeking records, withholding City statements/reports so they could not be addressed during the Appeal process and this is just a short list of the injustices. Worse of all, the IPC in its effort to ensure Ontario taxpayers would not have the facts to make decisions regarding their community, set the legal precedence that not even a legitimate political party, the Green Party, would be allowed access to City records, for the benefit of the community good. This is a blow directly against the very principles of democracy that Canada is founded on.
The FCB started almost 10 years ago and now without factual information to work with, is in danger of ending its fight to save the Cawthra Bush. This, in spite of the growing evidence the City is actively and through negligence destroying the Cawthra Bush's only protection, it's environmental significance. Over the years the FCB's efforts have discovered that the Cawthra Bush was more then just a stand of trees beside the QEW but in fact, it has recently been deemed a Provincially Significant Wetland Complex, the habitat of a Federally designated Threatened Species, the Jefferson Salamander, an Old-Growth ecosystem in an urban setting, Vernal ponds with Fairy Shrimp, an ephemeral stream, Chimney Building Crayfish and rare plants. We stopped the City's logging and tree farming.
Stopped the City's effort to deforest the entire east side of the Cawthra Bush. And the list goes on and on. One of the first things we discovered using the FOI Act was that the City had gone onto Provincial land at Cawthra and selectively logged it, without getting permission from the Ontario Government to do so. The documentation to back up our statements is vast, more on our web-site.
Without being able to make FOI requests to get the facts, scientific facts can no longer be used to save the environment and taxpayers are denied the facts needed to play a meaningful role in decision making in their communities. This sad state of affairs has come about due to one and only one reason, we are too small & poor to hire lawyers and fund court cases to over turn clearly wrong rulings by the IPC. Also, IPC now employs new methods to deny a person even the right to Appeal!
What you, your party and anyone else you know who would be interested in helping, not just the Cawthra Bush and all that lives in it or those who protect it, is to join the effort to make what has happened public and reverse it. For the benefit of all Ontarians and our democracy! There is only one way to do this and that is to get as many people as we can to make FOI requests and write letters either to the IPC commissioner and/or the media. We will be happy to note on our web-site (and post as many as we can), this community support and note which Ontario political party has supported this effort the most (by the number of FOI requests, letters etc.). Voters would want to know which political party supports the taxpayers right to know the facts, use scientific facts to protect the environment and be fully involved in community decision making.
The suggested FOI request and letter is attached. It is suggested that you send your FOI request to us so it can be logged but if you do not wish to, please send us a copy of your FOI request and any letter to the IPC Commissioner. If you want it to be posted on the internet we can and it is best to send us an e- mail of the letter and stating you want it posted on our web-site (http://home.eol.ca/~donbar). Also, use the below e-mail address to add your name to those who wish to be informed of the many up-dates.
I am willing to discuss my letter with you, in case the wording seems a little ambiguous or you want a request explained. My phone number is (905) ******** & e-mail ***********. There is an answering machine you can leave private messages on. As long as you are talking the machine will record. If someone answers the phone before the machine can come on, please ask them to hang up and let the next call ring through. I would appreciate your co-operation in using the answering machine, rather than leaving messages with anyone else answering the telephone.
Please find enclosed:
Sincerely yours, Donald Barber, President,
FCB & Chair CRRA.
Please use the FOI request letter provided. The wording of the FOI request is very similar to the Green Party FOI request.
FOI request with $5.00 (the FOI fee), stapled to the top of the page, to
the below address, so it does not cover the name of the sender.
You can cut out the address below and tape it on to an envelop as a mailing
Friends of the Cawthra Bush,
The reason it is mailed to the FCB and not the City is that we can make sure they "don't get lost in the mail", as the City could claim and that we will know just how many people are helping and accurately note which political party's or groups are supporting and to what degree.
This is very important for this FOI petition to work.
FOI requests can be made in letter form so this will not be a problem. The method of payment is by cheque or money order made out to the City of Mississauga, indicate on it that it is for a FOI request or $5 cash.
If you can use a title beside your name, like, MPP, MP, doctor, school teacher, member of a group or organization, reporter, writer, etc., that works best as then the City will be refusing those with standing in the community.
The Letter to the IPC
The suggested letter to:
Ann Cavoukian, IPC commissioner.
Asking her to explain why the FCB is not recognized as a community group by the IPC. If the FCB was it would place a greater onus on releasing records as they would be decimated into the community and used in the local democratic processes. Many efforts were made to gain this recognition and the IPC ignored them. These efforts included letters from FCB members (repeatedly presented to the IPC), asking for the right to access City records and in writing to Robert Binstock, IPC Registrar, specifically asking how to get the IPC to make such a recognition.
TO: City of Mississauga - Office of City Clerk.
ATTN: FOI Coordinator.
300 City Centre Drive, Mississauga, Ont. L5B 3C1
RE: FOI request:
I am making a Freedom of Information request, UNDER THE MUNICIPAL FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT, for general records in the care and control of the City of Mississauga. The preferred method of access is copies. The payment of $5 is attached to the top of this FOI request
I am looking for copies of records (including any correspondence, reports, memos, notes by staff and E-mails), that respond to this FOI request and that an index of all records be forwarded, so that the records to be copied will be chosen from this list. It is hoped that the wording of this FOI request will ensure low cost access and am open to suggestions on how to make this a low cost access request.
If someone else has made the same request as I, and they have received
all the records. I would be willing to withdraw this FOI request
after contacting this person to verify this (and that they will share the
records with me).
The FOI request;
In Dec. 2000 to Mar. 2001, the City of Mississauga knocked down part of the Walled Garden, at the Cawthra Bush. All records regarding this, (reports, memos, notes, and e-mails, by and to staff), notes about events that took place during that project and after, especially records referring to the Jefferson Salamanders (that live there) and the involvement of the Ministry of Nature Resources.
Please check with these City of Mississauga Staff members; John G. Lohuis
- Director of Recreation and Parks, Peter Lyons - Parks, Tony Fleischman
- Forestry, William Montague - Planning and admin, Mark Warrack - Heritage
Coordinator and the City's Risk Manager.
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