All the Chair’s Men
In a year-long investigation, reporter Grant LaFleche uncovered a conspiracy to manipulate the hiring of the Niagara Region’s top bureaucrat and a secret contract worth more than one million dollars. Leaked documents, confidential sources, encrypted emails — all the stuff of a modern movie thriller. But this wasn’t fiction. The Standard’s most ambitious investigation was a textbook example of dogged, relentless, digging by a reporter determined to shed light into the corners of the region’s shady political business. Undaunted by intimidation and public criticism aimed at discrediting their reporting, LaFleche and his editors refused to back down and just kept digging. As a result, the more than 50 stories published triggered an ongoing Ontario Ombudsman’s probe into the politics of the Niagara Region, and played a role in shaping the outcome of the 2018 municipal election. The St. Catharine’s Standard was also awarded a Citation of Merit.