By: Kate Port and Joanne Chianello
Coun. Jan Harder has stepped down from her influential role as chair of the committee responsible for urban planning and development in Ottawa, but that didn't quell harsh acrimony surrounding the integrity commissioner's report on the longtime councillor — a rare sight during this term of city council.
On Wednesday, Harder's council colleagues were set to vote on sanctions recommended in a damning 101-page report by integrity commissioner Robert Marleau, which found the Barrhaven councillor violated the councillor's code of conduct.
Among other things, Harder created a perceived conflict of interest by hiring registered lobbyist Jack Stirling and his daughter to work for her office, while Stirling represented private planning clients at city hall and even personally represented them at the committee Harder chaired.
Harder negated the suspense when she announced her immediate resignation from the committee before the vote, telling her colleagues "hyper-aggressive online attacks and libels directed at me and others since Friday threatens to curtail the city-building work that must continue at planning committee."