photo: Edmonton Journal
The Honourable Frank N. Marrocco, Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice, has been appointed to serve as Commissioner to the Judicial Inquiry into the sale of 50 percent of Collus to Power Stream in 2012.
Heather J. Smith, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice has written to Mayor Sandra Cooper to confirm the appointment.
Frank Neal Stephen Marrocco is the current Associate Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Justice. He was initially appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 2005 after being nominated by Stephen Harper.
At the request of Associate Chief Justice Marrocco, Smith has requested that Town of Collingwood CAO Fareed Amin meet with Mr. Marrocco to address internal procedural issues including a discussion of independent counsel who will be assigned to serve as Counsel to the Commissioner.
The official letter from the Town of Collingwood dated March 6, 2018 and signed by Mayor Sandra Cooper was sent to The Honourable Chief Justice Heather J. Forster Smith – Superior Court of Justice with a true certified copy of Resolution 042-18, requesting that a judge be appointed pursuant to s. 274 of the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c. 25 to conduct an inquiry.
How the Town of Collingwood Got To This Point
In the summer of 2015, William C. McDowell from the law firm Lenczner Slaght was asked by former Chief Administrative Officer of Collingwood John Brown to do a high level review of the share purchase transaction of the utilities of Collingwood, the Collus group of companies.
McDowell is the former Associate Deputy Minister of Justice of Canada and in that capacity assisted with the design of a number of public enquiries and the oversight of recommendations and implementation of recommendations that were handed down.
Collingwood Council held an in-camera session at the beginning of its regular meeting on Monday February 26th followed by a public presentation by McDowell at which time he stated that he has not reached any firm conclusions about any of the factual matters that the presentation refers to.
“What I have concluded is there are matters that are probably ones that warrant further inquiry.“
Collingwood Council then voted in favour of moving forward with a judicial inquiry to investigate events surrounding the initial sale of 50 per cent of Collus to PowerStream.
The official letter dated March 6, 2018 and signed by Mayor Sandra Cooper was sent from the Town of Collingwood to The Honourable Chief Justice Heather J. Forster Smith – Superior Court of Justice.
“During the meeting of Council held February 26, 2018, Council of the Town of Collingwood passed Resolution 042-18: Whereas, the Council of a Municipality may, by resolution, request a judge of the Superior Court of Justice to Inquire into or concerning any matter connected with the good government of the municipality, or the conduct of any part of its public business.”
With it was a true certified copy of Resolution 042-18, requesting that a judge be appointed pursuant to s. 274 of the Municipal Act, 2001, S.O. 2001, c. 25 to conduct an inquiry.
Mr. McDowell had earlier outlined the procedure involved once a judge has been appointed. He said the judge will now take some time to pick his Chief Counsel and other lawyers followed by a meeting between the Town of Collingwood’s lawyers and the lawyers to the commission to discuss the steps thereafter. There would be a hearing to decide who is formally going to be granted party status in the inquiry. There would be a call for the production of documents and the delivery of summonses or subpoenas.
Hearings are likely to begin in 2019.
The Honourable Justice Frank N. Marrocco
The Honourable Justice Frank N. Marrocco was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in 2005, following a distinguished law career spanning 33 years. He is well known for his professionalism, analytical skills and quiet contemplation – skills that served him well as a lawyer and have ensured his effectiveness as a judge.
Justice Marrocco received his Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto in 1970 and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1972. He practised criminal and civil litigation law and later developed a subspecialty in immigration law. A former Queen’s Counsel, he was a partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson prior to his judicial appointment.
Over the years, he worked on many high-profile cases, which included defending Lawrencia Bembenek – whose struggles to resist deportation or extradition to the US attracted much media interest. He also represented former Toronto City Counsellor Norman Gardner in his dispute with the Toronto Police Services Board. As well, he was the lead prosecutor in the Bre-X Securities prosecution, and was the lead counsel for the province of Ontario in the Walkerton Inquiry.
Justice Marrocco is an accomplished legal author whose credits include the Annotated Immigration Act of Canada and the Annotated Citizenship Act of Canada. He has also served as Vice-Chair of the University of Toronto Academic Disciplinary Tribunal and is a Judicial Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
He was elected as a Law Society bencher in 1995, and chaired several committees. He also served as Chair of the Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LAWPRO) from 2002 to 2003.
Recognized for his leadership skills, he was elected as Treasurer of the Law Society in 2003. In this role, he endeavoured to strengthen the profession and protect its independence by promoting access to justice and by fortifying the Law Society’s relationships with government and stakeholders.