Former Ombudsman Andre Marin suing for wrongful dismissal
Ontario Ombudsman Andre Marin speaks at Queen's Park on June 23, 2014.
Allison Jones, The Canadian Press
Published Friday, April 15, 2016 11:08AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, April 15, 2016 2:57PM EDT
TORONTO -- Ontario's former ombudsman is suing for wrongful dismissal, alleging Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals "orchestrated" his removal from public office because he was so critical of them.
Andre Marin served for two five-year terms and as the second was set to expire last year, he waged a Twitter campaign, warning the public that they would soon have no ombudsman and urging his followers to "make some noise."
The legislature voted to keep Marin as ombudsman until Sept. 14, while the selection process continued, and during that time Marin alleges he was misled into believing he would be reappointed to a third term.
Instead, Marin's deputy was appointed temporarily and ultimately Paul Dube, the former federal taxpayers' ombudsman, was selected as the new Ontario ombudsman.
Marin alleges he was fired without cause and without notice -- he says a two-year notice period would have been "reasonable."
"The premier and her representatives...orchestrated this process in an attempt to remove a vocal critic of certain of their actions while at the same time purporting to seriously consider his candidacy," Marin writes in his statement of claim.
"Rather than being advised with reasonable notice that he would not be reappointed, and rather than being permitted an opportunity to gracefully exit the role, the plaintiff has been publicly humiliated by the defendants as part of a strategy directed by the premier of Ontario."
Marin is suing the ombudsman's office, the legislative assembly and the province for two years of pay and $3 million in damages. He was told he would get about $43,700 in severance and about $43,800 for unused vacation days, he writes in the statement of claim.
Because Marin believed he would be getting a third term he failed to secure other employment, spent money he otherwise would not have on a new home he is building, and suffered public humiliation, he alleges.
Marin was highly critical of former premier Dalton McGuinty's government over mass arrests and detentions during the G20 summit. More recently, he was outspoken over the Wynne government's partial privatization of Hydro One, in particular the move to remove legislative oversight. The ombudsman's office lost oversight of the company once the privatization process began and Marin referred to the new position of an in-house watchdog for Hydro One as an "ombuds-weenie."
Two of the three defendants -- the ombudsman's office and the legislature -- have filed notices of intent to defend and while notice has been given to the Ministry of the Attorney General, the premier's office would not comment.
The ombudsman's office has exacerbated Marin's personal and professional damages since he left the job, Marin alleges.
The day after the legislature voted not to reappoint Marin, the electronic key to his Toronto apartment -- his family home is in Ottawa -- was deactivated and he was not allowed to collect his belongings, he alleges. The office also had Marin's personal Rogers email account deleted, he alleges.