FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA - Horizon Ottawa is calling for a longer lobbying ban for developer Jack Stirling, President of the Stirling Group, amidst reports today that he will face a 30-day ban from lobbying City Hall officials. The ban comes after he admitted to wrong-doing earlier this Summer for offering free consulting services to former Planning Chair and Barrhaven City Councillor Jan Harder while simultaneously lobbying City officials. His daughter was also working in Councillor Harder’s office at the time. The ban began on August 3rd and will only last until September 2nd. There are almost no City Hall meetings scheduled during this period.
“This sounds less like a ban and more like a small vacation for corporate developer, Jack Stirling.” Said Sam Hersh, Board Member of Horizon Ottawa. “We’re encouraged that Stirling admitted to wrong-doing but a small 30-day ban, while no meetings are taking place, will do precious little and shows that City Hall isn’t serious about tackling the perception of developer influence at City Hall.”
Despite Stirling admitting to wrongdoing, Councillor Harder, who resigned last month from her duties on Planning Committee, has yet to admit to any conflict of interest or contravention to the City’s Code of Conduct in defiance of the Integrity Commissioner Report released in early July that made the allegations. Currently, there are little to no accountability measures in place for ensuring that instances such as these do not happen again.
“It is clear that more needs to be done to ensure that residents and developers are on a level playing field at City Hall.” Said Hersh. “This means totally revamping not only campaign finance rules to ensure campaigns aren’t developer-funded, but also putting forward legislation at the municipal level that limits the power and influence of developer lobbyists.”
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