Hon. Stan Cho, MPP
111 Sheppard Avenue West
North York, ON M2N 1M7
January 1, 2024
Dear Minister Cho:
I am writing to ask that you request the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario, pursuant to Section 30 of the Members’ Integrity Act S.O. 1994, c. 38, give an opinion into the conduct of Joel Harden MPP, with respect to a letter that he published on or about December 31, 2023. A copy of Mr. Harden’s letter is attached.
Mr. Harden addressed this letter to Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and each member of the Ottawa city council. In this letter, he is critical of the City of Ottawa’s Director of By-Law and Regulatory Services, Roger Chapman, over the means and methods the City of Ottawa uses to enforce its noise by-law. As a non-elected staff member of the City of Ottawa, Mr.
Chapman is hardly positioned to debate Mr. Harden about how he does his job.
In the circumstances, members of the public could reasonably believe that Mr. Harden attempting to use his status as an MPP to interfere in the operations of another level of government, in a matter where Mr. Harden himself is concerned. Specifically, Mr. Harden has personally been charged with a violation of the same by-law, in relation to his participation in the political protests he referenced in his letter.
Sections 4 and 5 of the Act state:
Section 4: “A member of the Assembly shall not use his or her office to seek to influence a decision made or to be made by another person so as to further the member’s private interest or improperly to further another person’s private interest.”
Section 5: “This Act does not prohibit the activities in which members of the Assembly normally engage on behalf of constituents in accordance with Ontario parliamentary convention.”
Joel Harden’s complaint is not about the noise by-law itself, it’s about the fact that he and eight others received tickets for violating it. It’s not a normal activity on behalf of constituents in accordance with Ontario parliamentary convention. On the contrary, it’s an unethical abuse of the prestige of his office as an MPP to demand that the City of Ottawa give him and his friends a free pass to continue to break the law because, in his words, “wars are raging, and emotions are running high”.
That’s precisely why our society requires clear and reasonable rules, consistently and impartially applied, to regulate the time place and manner of public protests. His misuse of his status as an MPP to intimidate Ottawa’s local authorities into idly standing by as he and his friends behave lawlessly, compromises the Assembly’s dignity and the respect in which Ontario society holds the Assembly and its members.
I therefore respectfully petition that you convey this information to the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario, and call upon the Commissioner to open an investigation into this matter.