Laurentian Hills councillor cleared of conflict of interest


by Terry Myers

Laurentian Hills Councillor John Hoyle has been cleared on allegations that he violated Ontario’s Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.

Ontario Superior Court Justice Martin James released his ruling on the issue August 13.

lh-hoyleThe ruling follows from a five-hour hearing on the allegations heard in Pembroke court this May.

The case involves an application first filed by local resident Dave Winfield in 2017.

In his applicaton, Winfield asked for a court order declaring that Hoyle was in conflict of interest over his support for a motion backing Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF) at the Chalk River labs.

Winfield first raised his concerns in a letter to Laurentian Hills council following the town’s June 2017 council meeting.

During that meeting Hoyle, who works for security at CNL, seconded a motion in support of the NSDF and spoke in favour of the project.

In court in May, Winfield said that Hoyle’s comments on the NSDF, particularly the use of words like “we” and “our,” was “inappropriate for his role on council.”

“Most of his statements gave me the impression he was acting as a spokesman for or representative for his employer, CNL,” Winfield said.

But defence lawyer Ian Keuhl argued that evidence that Hoyle had any “pecuniary” (financial) interest in the issue was “lacking.”

“It is the applicant’s responsibility to prove the pecuniary interest. It is my submission that he has failed on the preponderance of evidence,” Keuhl said.

“I suggest Mr. Winfield did not get the boulder over the hill on this.”

In a six-page ruling, Justice James agreed.

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