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Duly Quoted: Toronto Ombudsman Fiona Crean

In her annual report, Crean assesses the state of the relationship between her independent office and the politicians at City Hall.

“[P]erhaps it’s not surprising that the past year saw increasing resistance to the presence of our office from some councillors and public servants.”

—Toronto ombudsman Fiona Crean (who Torontoist readers selected as the city’s Superhero of 2012) in her annual report, which was released this morning [PDF]. The introduction to that report serves as Crean’s rejoinder to several councillors, notably including some of Rob Ford’s strongest allies on council, who have attacked Crean in recent months for “politicizing” her office by issuing reports that included concerns about actions taken by the mayor’s office. Crean notes that her office has also encountered some resistance from City staff in complying with investigations. Fortunately, she reports, these incidents are “the exception,” and she has seen an increasing number of people trying to learn more about the ombudsman’s mandate. “The challenge of protecting ombudsman independence will never go away,” Crean writes, in a matter-of-fact reminder. “Every time there is a controversial investigation, the independence of the ombudsman is likely to be attacked.”