On Thursday, May 31, 2018 the Globe & Mail pulled out the rug from the Liberal campaign in Caledon. What many had suspected for a long time was revealed in detail by the investigative reporting team of Greg McArthur, Karen Howlett and Adrian Morrow.
It revealed a string of connections between then Liberal Toronto-Centre MPP Glen Murray, Maurizio Rogato of Solmar Corporation, a Liberal insider named Spiros Papathanasakis, and a cast of characters straight out of a Netflix crime thriller. It detailed the attack against then Mayor Morrison’s husband by Vladamir Vranic, who later plead guilty to the assault charges.
According to the report, Dalton McGuinty, then the liberal Premier of the province, turned down Mayor Morrison’s request to investigate, the OPP quietly began one of their own. Their probe was to uncover “alleged organized crime within the Town of Caledon.” Mr. Vranic did not deny his connection to underworld parties, and had “known links to the Commisso crime family.”
McGuinty did nothing, and later when Morrison approached Kathleen Wynne about dealing with Mr. Murray’s conduct the new Premier said, “I’ll be dealing with him.” Instead she also did nothing. Mr. Murrray left provincial politics last July for his “dream job” as head of Pembina Institute. Pembina should take a long hard look at Mr. Murray’s record.
Now fast forward to the Town of Caledon being imbedded in an OMB hearing with the Region of Peel over the same little piece of land that started this dispute ten years ago. Consider that the Town of Caledon had approved one area for development, the planners for the Region Of Peel had approved a compromise area for development and a consensus settlement seemed close. Enter Bonnie Crombie, once a federal Liberal, now Mayor of Mississauga, and Susan Jeffrey, who served as a cabinet minister under both McGuinty and Wynne, now Mayor of Brampton.
At the Region of Peel where the fate of these development projects would be decided, the Region of Peel, which includes the City of Mississauga and City of Brampton and the town of Caledon, voted to develop a land package that had been last on both Caledon’s and the Region of Peel planner’s lists. One lone Regional Councillor from Caledon blindsided her colleagues by voting with Brampton and Mississauga against the Town of Caledon, By sheer coincidence that parcel of land was owned by … wait for it … Solmar Corporation.
Now I am not a developer or a politician or a government lobbyist. I am a teacher, storyteller journalist, and environmental educator. One of the skills we possess is the ability to look for the pattern that connects. And the pattern that connects here is one of private influence and provincial government corruption interfering with a municipality’s right to govern itself on a level playing field.
I can hear the alleged perpetrators in this crime singing the same song that Shaggy sang in “It Wasn’t Me.” And the Teflon coating provided by wealth and privilege lets the “I can’t recall that meeting.” Or “I can’t recall paying that accountant to cook up false tax charges against Mayor Morrison” or “I can’t recall ordering that beating of the Mayor’s husband.” Or “I can’t recall saying that,” slide off without challenge. It wasn’t me.
Well, I can’t recall asking for the decisions in my Town to be influenced by organized crime. I can’t recall asking my Town politicians to be intimidated by development interests. I can’t recall asking my local press to be compromised by the dark side of the Force.
The way I see it.
Skid Crease, Caledon