Monday, 13 March 2017

DDO: opening case at Ombusdman (Ontario), re deficiency at Clerks (Town of Richmond Hill)

[I post outside my normal blogging cycle, almost four hours ahead of the normal weekly schedule, an e-mail which I am now sending to, with cc's as follows:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I may conceivably make future forwards, notably to individuals interested in Canadian heritage conservation.

Anyone having questions or concerns should e-mail me through my usual address,

I am proposing to make one or two or so additional blog postings, on topics unconnected with the David Dunlap Observatory (DDO) heritage-conservation case, about three hours from now, within the framework of my normal weekly blogging cycle.] 

Coordinated Universal Time (= UTC = EST+5 = EDT+4): 20170313T1915Z

I am herewith opening an Ombudsdman complaint against the Town of Richmond Hill, under the procedure discussed at 

In the interest of transparency, I have just displayed this present material at my blog, (for viewers outside Canada, 

The material following this sentence repeats, word for word and indeed letter for letter, the submission which I made a few minutes ago through a Web form at 


My complaint regards deficient public communication by the office of Clerks, Town of Richmond Hill. The deficiency conceivably involves behind-the-scenes interference (even conceivably behind-the-scenes political interference) directed against Clerks by some to-me-unknown third party.

I have asked Clerks in at least 3 separate e-mails, in the period from 2016 December through 2017 March inclusive, to acknowledge my 2016 December action of drawing a potential municipal problem, with conceivable legal ramifications, to their notice. The problem involved misleading advertising by a subdivision developer, DG Group (formerly Metrus) subsidiary Corsica, in respect of their envisaged 520- or 530-home "Observatory Hill". The advertising language was deficient in several respects, one of them involving a misleading use of a municipal-park name.

In 2016 December, I drew the problematic advertising to the notice of Advertising Standards Canada (ASC), thereby opening the (now-closed) ASC case #141628. The advertiser eventually resolved the case to my satisfaction, correcting its advertising language.  But the Clerk has persistently declined to acknowledge receiving correspondence from me, despite the potential legal ramifications of the advertiser's conduct for the municipality - refusing both (a) when the case was under adjudication at ASC and (b) when the case was, to the advertiser's satisfaction and my satisfaction, closed at ASC.

Two complicating factors in Ombudsman case which I am herewith opening are (1) the inconsistency of the Clerk's present behaviour with the Clerk's  cooperative and helpful demeanour, in our many dealings over the years on other aspects of the controversial "Observatory Hill" subdivision development, and (2) legal actions brought against me by a present "Observatory Hill"-favourable Town Councillor, Karen Cilevitz, during Ms Cilevitz's successful 2014 election campaign. I have documented Ms Cilevitz's 2014 legal actions at and

It is possible that the Clerk, in now departing from the Clerk's past well-established pattern of behaviour, is now suffering political interference (being, in other words, now instructed - as a political initiative undertaken from some sufficiently powerful quarter, against the Clerk's own long-standing preference - to ignore my requests). However, it would be improper for me to suggest that any such hypothetical powerful-quarter political interference is specifically from Councillor Cilevitz. As a purely subjective assessment, my feeling is 50% that Councillor Cilevitz is somehow significantly involved in the situation (perhaps with a few, or even with many, others), but 50% that the problem lies altogether elsewhere - in some quarter, perhaps political, which I in my mild autism, and in my mild consequent social clumsiness, am unable even to guess at.

A satisfactory resolution of the case would involve (a) a specific acknowledgement by the Clerk to me of past correspondence from me to Clerks regarding the past (now-closed) ASC case #141628; (b) an affirmation that the Clerk will, as a matter of general future policy, acknowledge receiving incoming correspondence in all cases in which the correspondent requests an acknowledgement of receipt; and (c) an affirmation that the Clerk is politically neutral.

In the interest of public transparency, I am proposing to document this present Ombudsman case, as I have already documented the now-closed ASC case #141628, in blog format at (for readers outside Canada, at

For your possible convenience, I add, as an appendix, my most recent e-mail to the Clerk, in which I state that an acknowledgement is sought, and in which I indicate that in the event of failure to acknowledge I will have to open an Ombudsman case.

((APPENDIX WHAT="archived correspondence"))
Coordinated Universal Time (= UTC = EST+5 = EDT+4): 20170306T194604Z


Advertising Standards Canada has now resolved my
case involving DG Group (formerly Metrus) subsidiary
Corsica (the would-be developers of "Observatory
Hill", a projected 32-hectare subdivision adjacent
to the remnant 45-hectare "David Dunlap Observatory
Park"). I quote herewith the relevant part of the
relevant Advertising Standards Canada e-mail to me,
dated 2017-03-02:

ASC carefully reviewed the advertising
in light of your concerns and
contacted the advertiser for additional
information. We were informed by the
advertiser that, after receiving your
complaint, it changed the advertisement
in question as per your proposed

Based on the advertiser's corrective
action, we will now close our file on
this matter.

I believe I have remarked to you on a couple of
occasions, most recently in my e-mail bearing the
internal timestamp UTC=20170204T041144Z, that we
should document in a duly formal way the Town's
awareness of the problems that I first drew
to the Town's notice on 2016-12-19 or 2016-12-20,
and which formed the subject of my Advertising
Standards Canada case #141628. My e-mail to you,
bearing the internal timestamp UTC=20170204T041144Z,
is copied below.

Unfortunately, the Town has not acted on these
requests - even though I last week had a fully
correct acknowledgement, from Commissioner Shane
Baker to me with cc to you, of other DDO-pertinent
correspondence, not involving Advertising Standards
Canada. I would now respectfully ask Clerks to follow
Commissioner Baker's good example and acknowledge,
in some brief form of words of other, (a) the Town's
awareness that I brought case #141628 to its notice,
fearing a breach of advertising ethics, and even (as
a legal layman) fearing an outright illegality; and
(b) the Town's awareness that the case has now been closed
by Advertising Standards Canada, in a way which
satisfies my concerns.

In the interest of transparency, I would propose to
reproduce your brief form of words on my server
space, as a supplement
to my existing documentation of case #141628
at that server space. My server space seeks to guard the
public interest, by doing everything possible to
render the ongoing DDO conservation case transparent.

As I remarked to Commissioner Baker and you in
connection with Commissioner Baker last week, I am
trying these days to be more diligent in transparent
administration than I have been in the past - seeking,
as I would put it today, to cross all my t's and to dot
all my i's.

I make two further contextual remarks.

(1) It is especially important that we achieve full
transparency, with a due acknowldgement to me of
my correspondence with you, because of a possible
public perception that the aspiring developer and
the Town are in some sense allies. It will not have
escaped public notice that although the developer
is making a large gift of land and buildings to
the Town, for the Town's remnant 45-hectare park,
the developer has also made a 400-percent profit on
its circa-2013 sale to the Town of five David Dunlap
Observatory hectares (slated to become part of that
45-hectare remnant park), and additionally stands
to profit from the sale of 520 or 530 homes in
its projected 32-hectare subdivision. I would say
that this is to the detriment of the provincial and
national DDO heritage (a heritage which in my own
private judgement should have, and yet did not,
generate a federal application for UNESCO World
Heritage Site protection). Mindful of the dangers of
the developer's bringing litigation against me, and
recalling my belief - Councillor Hogg must this week
correct me if I am mistaken - that in the past the
late Alfredo DeGasperis, Sr of DG Group (then Metrus)
has outside the immediate DDO context been involved
in a threat of litigation against Councillor Hogg,
I underscore and stress that I do not myself assert
the developer and Town to be in any sense allies:
my assertion, which I believe I can support in court
under "Truth Defence" by due use of subpoena, is
only that there is a possible public perception that
the developer and Town are in some sense allies. -
Mr Bronskill, representing DG Group (former Metrus)
subsidiary Corsica, is a cc'd party to this present
e-mail, and he must this week correct me if in
writing this paragraph I have strayed - as, mindful
of "Truth Defence", I do not think I have strayed -
into some tort of defamation.

(2) I have noticed in the last few days with a special
horror that the Vatican has played loose with the
normal accepted rules of administration, by failing to
acknowledge incoming correspondence in sexual-abuse
matters. It was in part this loose Vatican behaviour
that triggered the resignation, around 2017-03-01,
of Marie Collins from the Pontifical Commission for
the Protection of Minors: cf her words as quoted at
This, like other bad things I have noticed in Soviet
and Singaporean files in my minor past public work,
is much on my mind as I now work
on our particular DDO file.  We do not want our
Town imitating the just-cited Vatican administrative

In light of my last two paragraphs, I have to remark,
politely but firmly, that I cannot in conscience
take Town silence for an answer, and that if I
receive no acknowledgement of correspondence from
you by late tomorrow afternoon (I define this as
UTC=20170307T2200Z), then I will start a case against
the Town at the office of the Ontario Ombudsman. I
would in that unpleasant, abrasive - but remote? -
eventuality be basing my proceedings on the Ombudsman
expanded-jursidiction provisions as explained at

  As of January 1, 2016, the
  Ontario Ombudsman can take general
  complaints about the province's 444
  municipalities. This is in addition
  to complaints about closed municipal
  meetings, which were added to the
  Ombudsman's jurisdiction in 2008.

looking forward (I reiterate)
to your terse response by UTC=20170307T2200Z,
addressing my points "(a)" and "(b)" above,

Dr Toomas Karmo
42 Gentry Crescent
Richmond Hill ON L4C 2G9

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