Four months ago, I wrote a news report for Just Sayin’ Caledon from the May 24, 2022 regular Town of Caledon Council meeting titled: “You Take My Breath Away: truck traffic, aggregates, and air quality in Caledon.” It featured a delegation by Bolton resident Joe Grogan detailing his concerns about increasing truck traffic and the health hazards of diesel exhaust. Council was so impressed with Mr. Grogan’s delegation and detailed scientific and medical research that they passed a Motion to address air quality monitoring in Caledon.
Mr. Grogan noted with disappointment that his Regional Councillor, Annette Groves, was absent during his presentation: “I’m disappointed frankly, that Councillor Groves at the moment is not available but hopefully she will appear and make some comments.” Unfortunately that did not happen and the Town Clerk noted when the vote was recorded that “Councillor Groves is still absent.” That struck me as curious. Ms. Groves purports to be a champion of community health and an opponent of heavy truck traffic around and through Bolton. So, where was Regional Councillor Annette Groves on the evening of May 24, 2022?
Before we answer that question keep in mind that Municipal Councillors play both a legislative role and a constituency role. “In their legislative role they are responsible for considering and establishing policies and by laws to implement Council’s decisions.” Our Caledon councillors are paid (before the raise) $40,000 a year by the taxpaying citizens of Caledon to carry out that legislative role responsibly and to be responsive to their constituents.
On May 24, 2022, instead of fulfilling her legislative and constituency roles in Council, Regional Councillor Annette Groves was attending a “Family and Friends” BBQ hosted by Falcon Xpress Transportation Group Inc, a firm with whom the Town of Caledon is currently in litigation. The legal department could not confirm at the time if this was in relation to the ongoing illegal trucking issues plaguing the Town.
At this “Family and Friends” event, Ms. Groves gave a speech seeking support for her mayoral bid in the Town of Caledon. Several other politicians were at the event, mostly campaigning for support in the Ontario provincial election.
Keep in mind that Councillors receive their agenda for the Council meetings days in advance, so Ms. Groves was fully aware that one of her own constituents was making a delegation on an topic which she claimed to champion. Instead, she chose to violate her constituency responsibilities by being deliberately absent from Council that evening. Further, she violated her legislative responsibilities by missing both the discussion and vote to create a policy for air quality monitoring in Caledon.
Add to this her attendance at an event hosted by a company with whom the Town was in litigation, and some might call it a breech of ethics or a conflict of interest or fiscally irresponsible, Some might choose all of the above.
In any case it was conduct unbecoming, and certainly unworthy of anyone seeking the office of Mayor. The way I see it.
Skid Crease, Caledon