Council gets pass on CNL issues

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Laurentian Hills council has received a court order allowing it to discuss issues involving Canadian Nuclear Laboratories without the risk of being called out for conflict of interest.

But the order is limited to 17 specific topics.

On other issues, council will have to apply to the court case by case.

The order was issued by Ontario Superior Court Justice Jaye Hooper in December. A copy of the document was recently posted to the town’s website.

In the ruling, Justice Hooper said the town applied for the court order because “every member of this township’s council either receives remuneration or is closely related to someone who receives remuneration from the town’s major employer,” CNL.

“There is a reasonable prospect that whenever a matter relating to the company comes before this township’s council, decision making would be paralyzed, or the members of council might face sanctions and penalties (under the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act, MCIA) if they proceed with a vote.”

Under the MCIA, a pecuniary interest of immediate family members is considered an “indirect” interest of a municipal councillor and is subject to the same conflict of interest rules.

Hooper noted that if every member of council declared a conflict on issues where CNL was involved, “there would be no quorum, and the duly elected council could not function in relation to those matters”…

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