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Staff apologizes for naming councillor in report on criminal activity

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

A member of Oshawa city council says having her name appear in a report dealing with suspected criminal activity in an Oshawa neighbourhood was “reckless” and may have put her in harm’s way.

The report in question was delivered to the community services committee on Jan. 18 and dealt with complaints from residents regarding a walkway between Madawaska Avenue and Quetico Avenue in Oshawa. Those complaints ranged from the amount of garbage being thrown in the walkway to illegal activity taking place there. It was also noted in the complaint that police were aware of the issues and were investigating.

The staff’s report notes that no significant issues were detected in their investigation, and it was eventually received for information with staff being directed to look into the possibility of installing bollards to ensure cars can’t drive up and down the walkway.

However, when the report came to council, it was published and made public that the complaints were brought to city hall by Councillor Amy McQuaid-England. When it comes to city reports, naming the source of certain information, especially regarding sensitive topics, is uncommon. It also appears that certain information was attributed to McQuaid-England that she may never have shared.

While no longer publicly available, the initial report noted that “residents have also apparently complained to Councillor Amy McQuaid-England about loitering and possible drug deals taking place in the walkway. These comments from the residents were forwarded by Councillor McQuaid-England to the Durham Regional Police.”

However, the complaint brought forward by McQuaid-England to Service Oshawa makes no mention of drug deals. She says that she was “shocked” when she saw her name appear in the report.

“It’s distressing my name was used and attributed to comments which I never said in the committee meeting on this issue,” McQuaid-England says. “Although staff have apologized and they have released a revised page for the report, I feel I was centered out publicly in a reckless manner.”

Ron Diskey, the city’s commissioner of community services later issued an apology to the councillor for the mistake, noting that he agreed McQuaid-England’s name should have never appeared in the report.

“That probably shouldn’t have happened, it was a miss on my review of the reports,” he said. “I did speak to the city manager about it and we discussed it to ensure it doesn’t happen again.”