Timmins city councillor Rick Dubeau is now being backed by lawyers. Peter Doucet will be representing Dubeau, Pro Bono, to look into the recent controversy at city hall. Doucet says Dubeau being kicked off of the multiple committees he sat on will be looked at; along with the closed door meetings, and how things like the fireworks festival were approved. Dubeau says he was approached by Doucet after he was “censored” by council.

Doucet says openness and transparency are encouraged at city hall, and that isn’t happening with the current mayor and council. He says a number of lawyers are concerned about what is happening at city hall, from both a democracy and a procedural point of view. He says people are allowed to disagree, but it doesn’t mean you should be kicked off of committees for not “kowtowing” to a demand.

Doucet also notes all of the closed door meetings are concerning. He points out the $3.5 million fireworks festival, and questions why that decision was made during a closed door meeting. He says Mayor Steve Black acted without authority, and came up with the idea on his own to host the festival. Doucet also points out the Connecting Link, and how the contract was changed. He says being punished because you disagree isn’t how democracy works.

Doucet says the first step in the process will start with collecting all of the facts, whether it be by co-operation from city hall or by legal means. He says that will show if the Municipal Act has been followed or not, which will determine what steps Dubeau can then take. He also notes this is the first time in recent memory a councillor has retained legal services because of what is happening at city hall.

He says ideally, Dubeau will be reinstated back to the committees he was booted from, and the city will be completely open with any future decisions.

Dubeau says he is also in talks with the Ontario Ombudsman’s office to look at all of these issues. He says council will generally vote 7-2, without a lot of debate. He says that shows the decisions are made ahead of time, which isn’t how council should work. He says meetings should include respectful debate of policies, not personalities.

Mayor Steve Black says he has no comment on the issue, other than to say council appoints committee by a resolution. He says those resolutions can also change who sits on the committees, which is what happened when Dubeau was voted off. Black says if Dubeau believes fighting this decision through legal avenues at his, and the taxpayers, expense is the right decision, than he is entitled to do so.