[ End of the line for a Star writer? Probably]
The system of democracy only can function when the principles of natural justice accompany it. The two are inextricably connected.
Although too many people will use the term “democracy” in its simplistic form as it applies to one person/one vote and or the various freedoms that a democracy encompasses; natural justice is perhaps even more essential than all the rest of those “freedoms” that we have come to cherish.
What is it? NATURAL JUSTICE is at the heart of our entire legal system. Without natural justice, there is not one of those freedoms that would be safe. Natural justice In layman’s terms assures that judgment must NEVER be made unless and until both sides of any allegation are heard by an impartial decision maker. It also operates on the premise that justice must also be seen to be served. To do less or to operate in a lesser manner would throw our culture and civilization back 800 years when the British monarch of the day (King John, in 1215) was forced sign the Magna Carta into law and permit fair trials in England.
I have been watching and commenting on the unfairness of the alleged “spending scandal” at Brampton’s City Hall. I commented because one single individual (San Grewal and his paper, the Toronto Star) by way of biased journalism and manipulation of information had established himself as the defacto decision maker. It remains a position that he (and his paper) are unqualified (and unworthy) to fill. I have long suspected that Grewal has not fully grasped the gravity of what he has embarked upon.
It is ironic (sort of) that Grewal now has legal action looming over him and will be seeking the same use of “Natural Justice” when his trial happens. He has also dragged his troubled employer (as a co-respondent) into those same legal actions. I hope/pray that the other media jump onto this story and do not defend something that, if ignored would rip away the heart of democracy itself.
Yesterday, at Brampton City Hall, Grewal stood by, waiting to pounce. He was blathering comments such as “punishment” and “stripping away employment” because he seemed to feel he had built such a compelling case for his scandal story that the entire Canadian system of justice would blindly follow him.
At an in-camera meeting of council that was taking place while Grewal waited to pounce, the Corporation of the City of Brampton had retained outside legal advice with which they hoped would guide them through uncharted legal waters. Outside, Grewal was seen flitting around visitors’ area and offering his “legal advice” to the assembled crowd. Perhaps he was trying to assure that the crowd was ready to crown him.
Inside the in-camera meeting, REAL legal advice was being given according to a press release from City of Brampton civil servant, John Corbet. Fortunately, councilors listened and took heed to the advice they received. Largely, they were reminded of the need to include NATURAL JUSTICE in whatever they were about to do. Having achieved common sense at the meeting, an amicable process of disentangling the nuances of the individual repayments by way of a formal dispute resolution process emerged. Sadly (for Grewal) Grewal will NOT be part of that process. In fact, he never should have been. And, in fact, Grewal now stands to lose a civil case that could/should cost him (personally) a fortune. How his employer (the Toronto Star) will deal with Grewal remains to be seen.
The circus like environment that Grewal has become part of has come to a screeching halt and democracy has won out.
What those behind closed door (in Camera) meeting unearthed was damning to Grewal’s pending legal case. Despite his attempts to craft this entire in such a manner as to hold Brampton Mayor Susan Fennell singularly responsible for spending issues, the outside legal advice cautioned the entire council that they each has also broken rules and were expected make restitution. Thus, each of them had a pecuniary (financial) interest in the matter and, by law should have declared a conflict of interest long-long ago instead of engaging in mudslinging.
That fact came out when, after the formal part of the City Council meeting took place, Grewal sought out Regional Councilor John Sanderson and engaged in an intense conversation. A caring citizen meanwhile was recording the entire conversation. Sanderson, a long-time source for Grewal’s stories did tow things. He disclosed the reason that Council finally chose a reasoned path dictated by his/her own individual culpability. Moreover, John Sanderson is now captured on film discussing “in-camera” matters. That, in and of itself is a serious breach of conduct. It also more than establishes the relationship between Sanderson and Grewal.
For San Grewal, things suddenly fell apart. I suspect that they will get much worse when he, several of the other Star staff members and the paper appear in Court.
A few of the most vocal Grewal fans on City Council appeared to be visibly shaken as they emerged from the In-Camera Meeting and took their seats at the public meeting. In all of his deliberations Grewal missed many key facts that ought to have told him that his Titanic was about to meet an iceberg. Councilor Bob Callahan, four weeks ago raised the issue of fairness. Unfortunately, some of his colleagues persisted – as did Grewal and the Star.
Question for San Grewal: did you learn anything about Canada and natural justice by way of yesterday’s events????