It looks like Ontario’s growling watchdog is about to be neutered.
According to The Canadian Press, an NDP motion to further extend Andre Marin’s term failed to pass on Monday.
A separate Liberal motion that sought to temporarily replace him with his deputy ombudsman, Barbara Finlay, also failed.
That means a void in the position, which investigates public complaints about Ontario government services.
Marin has been a thorn in the Liberal government’s side, issuing a series of scathing reports, including a mammoth exposé on unfair billing practices at Hydro One.
Other notable reports by Marin included fraud at the OLG, and mass rights violations during the G20 in Toronto.
Liberal motion to replace Ombudsman Andre Marin with his deputy temporarily and NDP motion to extend Marin's term both fail to pass. #onpoli
— Keith Leslie (@CPnewsboy) September 14, 2015
Marin’s term officially expired in late May but he was granted a four-month extension. That extension ends on Monday.
In a letter to the opposition, government house leader Yasir Naqv says the panel responsible for appointing the position has not been able to reach a consensus on a permanent hire.
Marin, who was first appointed in 2005, argued on Twitter that he should remain ombudsman until the hiring process is complete.
At a news conference, he criticized the government’s selection process, calling it “shambolic.”
“The integrity of the selection process was compromised by crass politics,” Marin said.
Hope the gov't motion for Monday is reconsidered. I know of no precedent 4 kicking an officer of the leg to the curb while reappoint ongoing
— Ontario Ombudsman (@Ont_Ombudsman) September 11, 2015
Marin may be out for now, but he still has his sights set on the job he’s held for the past decade. He says Naqv has invited him to reapply and he accepted.
“I’ve done my job impartially and compassionately,” he stressed. “I’ve never belonged to any political party. Virtually all of my recommendations have been accepted in the last decade.”
When asked if he fears he’s being pushed out after making life uncomfortable for many high profile political players, Marin didn’t blink.
“I’m not here to please the powers,” he said. “I’m supposed to be speaking truth to power. And that doesn’t make you popular…it’s not a popularity contest.
“I don’t expect to be invited to afternoon tea in the premier’s office. But I do expect the government to act fairly and they have not acted fairly through this selection process.”