Briefing

Scheduling key board vote around Justin Trudeau’s schedule was bad optics, says Waterfront Toronto chair

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At a Wednesday meeting of the Ontario legislature’s Standing Committee on Public Accounts, Waterfront Toronto staff faced questions over whether a vote on a controversial smart-city deal with Google sister company Sidewalk Labs was rushed to ensure the prime minister could be present to announce the partnership. Stephen Diamond said the optics were “unfortunate,” and that rushing the vote “was likely not the smartest or wisest move to be made.” (The Logic)

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Talking point: The framework agreement approved by the rush vote was replaced by the Plan Development Agreement in July 2018. Diamond said this earlier part of the process was “totally insignificant” now that Waterfront and Sidewalk have signed a new agreement. In an interview with The Logic following the meeting, Diamond said that since becoming chair in March, he has realized the importance of being “very careful that there is no potential perspective, in dealing with a public entity, that there is anything untoward in terms of the process being followed.” Diamond called the committee’s questioning “aggressive,” and said it had “no real sense of appreciation of some of the successes that we’ve had or where we could go in the future.” He acknowledged, however, that committee members were doing their jobs.