MARIN: Ontario’s watchdogs ought to all dwell beneath one roof

MARIN: Ontario’s watchdogs should all live under one roof

Final week’s Ontario Financial Outlook and Fiscal Evaluate by Finance Minister Vic Fedeli consolidated three parliamentary oversight our bodies into both the Auditor Basic’s Workplace or the Ombudsman’s workplace.

Henceforth, the Environmental Commissioner’s, the French Languages Commissioner’s workplace and the Baby Advocates’ obligations can be dealt with by the AG or the Ombudsman.

Federally, the Environmental Commissioner is a place inside the federal AG’s workplace, and it seems to be working, so eliminating the overhead of a separate workplace provincially is a straightforward name in these robust fiscal occasions.

So far as the Language Commissioner and the Baby Advocate’s workplace, each had been pointless to start with. They each had been born inside the ranks of presidency and finally their umbilical cords had been lower and made officers of parliament.

Why had been they pointless? As a result of their respective capabilities had been already assumed by the Ombudsman and they’re going to now revert again to the place they had been earlier than.

It was the previous Liberal authorities doing what they did finest – creating redundant, bloated and expensive bureaucracies to pander for votes whereas the oversight fields had been already coated. They had been shiny “really feel good” places of work.

One other such place abolished was the Impartial Advisor on the Correctional System held by Howard Sapers. He was appointed by former Minister of Neighborhood Security Yasir Naqvi for 2 years, then prolonged for a further yr to Dec. 31 at a whopping $330,000 per yr. Premier Doug Ford dutifully axed the job at his first cupboard assembly in June.

Provided that the Ombudsman Act provides the incumbent particular obligations for corrections, why did the Premier Kathleen Wynne authorities waste cash to usher in somebody and pay him considerably greater than the Ombudsman to cowl the identical work?

Was it a insecurity in present lapdog Ombudsman Paul Dubé? Was it a comfort prize for Sapers, a former Liberal chief in Alberta, for shedding out on Dubé’s job in 2015?

As for French Language Commissioner François Boileau, he had already discredited his workplace a yr in the past by permitting himself for use as a prop in an embrace with former Lawyer Basic Yasir Naqvi and French Languages Commissioner Marie-France Lalonde.

All three posed for what appeared like a creepy household photograph smiling ear-to-ear behind a podium with an indication studying: “Stronger Entry to Justice in French.”

Lawyer Basic Yasir Naqvi (centre) joined Marie-France Lalonde, Minister Answerable for Francophone Affairs, and François Boileau, French Language Companies Commissioner, on Wednesda, October 11, 2017, at Ottawa Metropolis Corridor. (Julie Oliver/Postmedia Community)

I can’t keep in mind in my 20 years of oversight, an officer of parliament so overtly abdicating his independence. He gained’t be missed.

I’ve an extra cost-savings suggestion for Fedeli’s upcoming spring price range. Now that we’ve trimmed down to 6 officers of parliament, why not relocate all of them beneath the identical roof outdoors the core of Toronto? Why does the Ombudsman must be on Bay Road within the coronary heart of the monetary district paying prime greenback for hire with the AG situated just a few blocks away?

It’s referred to as in authorities lingo “shared companies.” As a substitute of six server rooms, you share one — identical for the reception and different duplicated administrative work.

The workplace could possibly be situated within the GTA and even additional, say Mississauga, Oshawa or Orillia or elsewhere, saving considerably in hire cash. Many of the work of those places of work are carried out by web and social media. And when they should meet provincial authorities officers, they will use Skype or Uber it to their vacation spot.

There’s priority on the federal stage the place some officers of parliament are housed collectively in Gatineau on the Quebec facet.

There’s little doubt the Chief Electoral Officer, the AG’s Workplace, the Info and Privateness Commissioner’s Workplace, the Ombudsman’s workplace, the Integrity Commissioner’s workplace and the Monetary Accountability Officer would protest on the grounds that their independence could be crushed by the transfer.

In the event that they had been all in the identical constructing, there are methods this could possibly be addressed. It’s not an unmanageable difficulty.

Officers of parliament sharing companies beneath the identical roof outdoors Toronto expensive downtown would produce substantial financial savings that can’t be neglected after we’re dealing with down a $14.5 billion deficit.

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