Lawyer makes case for integrity at city hall

Greg Levine, an expert on government ethics law, makes the case for A New Integrity-Officer Model for Metro Toronto, in a public talk Oct. 19 from 12:30 to 2:30pm, in the McLaughlin College Senior Common Room (140).

Levine is a lawyer and a professor at the University of Western Ontario who teaches a course on government ethics law. His talk, sponsored by McLaughlin College and York’s Centre for Practical Ethics, comes on the heels of the computer-leasing scandal and recent hiring improprieties at Toronto city hall.

Right: Greg Levine, government ethics law expert

Last March, Levine presented a workshop at York on conflict of interest. In his introduction, he argued that conflict-of-interest “training is necessary because it is apparent that many people do not understand the most basic rules about fairness and that many others, encouraged by the denouncing, downgrading, and demeaning of public service coincident with the rise of neoconservatism (or neoliberalism), feel encouraged to use the public service for their own ends or at a minimum do not feel it problematic to do so. After all, what are a few tickets to a hockey game in Philadelphia – surely they do not matter in the overall scheme of things. Well they do matter and one might have said that common sense would tell someone otherwise but as we have seen, it did not.”

“Public service matters,” he said. “Public servants and elected officials perform critical services for the well being of all of us, both individually and collectively. Public service in our society takes place within a democratic framework.” Therefore, he contends, “public service must be conducted ethically and responsibly.”