Saturday, January 21, 2012

A Special Thankyou

Despite the recent court ruling which by rights should be more closely scrutinized, to all the Petitioners representative of a wide sampling of the community, once again, thank you for bringing this important issue of conflict of interest to the community's attention.

To the Islands Trust and 'Humphreys' too numerous to mention, thank you too, obviously this whole affair has had a constructive impact on policy with the recently released publication reminder for old and new Trustees - "How to Stay Out of Trouble". A detailed explanation of what conflict of interest is and isn't should now be amply clear enough even for future judges. It is surely recommended reading for any elected officials or society directors in general. Better late than never.

To all the secret or otherwise closed societies out there, I hope the next time you consider coming to the taxpayer-funded trough, that you do us all a favour and seek traditional public donations first to test the support validity of your cause and then most certainly recuse yourselves as directors from voting yourself funds if you are the ones in a conflict of interest situation. Again, refer to the Islands Trust publication above if you don't understand the subtler nuances of the legislation.

Paul Marcano


  1. Michael Cooke Ummm...WHAT did they "get away with"? Did you READ the judgement? I would suggest your posers, er, I mean, posse, look in the mirror when it comes to "Salt Spring Extremism" might find what you're opposed to.

    Paul Marcano It is a very complex issue that you would have to have followed in detail, but in short, the Trustees and Garth were noteably informed by the court that they "really should not have proceded as they did" and Trust Council's "How to Stay Out of Trouble" manual for their Trustees distinctly point out the following:

    What to do if you have a conflict (or are uncertain):

    1. Declare you have a conflict and leave the meeting each time the topic
    comes up make sure this is recorded in the minutes applies to trustee participation in meetings of advisory groups too (ie.APC)

    2. Don’t participate in any discussion of the topic with other LTC members

    3. Don’t vote on the topic Don’t try to influence how other trustees vote, either before, during or after the meeting, directly or indirectly.

    Now to the heart of the issue, you have a videotaped meeting where one Trustee offers no comment to a motion to grant funds to a society where the other Trustee is a chair of it. This in itself demonstrates previous discussion or total abandon of discussion, both of which are out of order.

    Now I am not sure whether we have an NDP appointed judge in this case ruling on an NDP created organization... but I and others are not amused at the sense of colusion going on here and if pointing it out seems extreme that only illustrates how divided opinion is on this.

    Right now the Province should realise that our Conflict of Interest Legislation has in effect been overuled by this judge and I do not think we will hear the end of this soon. This entire ruling was a whitewash of the main point, not whether elected officials were doing good work, but whether they were following even their own Trust Council's "How to Stay Out of Trouble" guidelines...

    It is so obvious but really Michael, I understand how close you are to this, so make some attempt to keep your objective mind and realize a lot of people in the community are fuming over this, 15 petitioners from every walk of life is just the tip of the iceberg!

    I hope they have enough to appeal this to the Province, otherwise taxpayers are on the hook for more of these shenanigans once the usual bunch are back in power. We can only thank our lucky stars that Mr. Borrowman and Woods did not get in. Peace brother.

  2. Paul Marcano Yea but someone else once said most sincerely "I am not a crook"... so I am a little gunshy.

    Michael Cooke Right, Nixon. These people must be THAT bad. At LEAST. That'll keep the drama high. I'm surprised you don't bring in Hitler - oh, wait...that's been done. Again - you're slagging, and starting off on the wrong foot entirely.

    Michael Cooke Peace and Love, Brother ...I'm outta here...

    Paul Marcano It was not me that started off on the wrong foot, it was the Trustees and their overt disregard for the legal rules of conduct that they coyly claimed ignorance of... that was the part that was not civilized. I hold Nixon in high regard by the by for opening up China to the world... but I have to admit to a profound love of satire and still regard the Bunker Video on YouTube as an apt expression of how a lot of islanders perceived the way the Trustee tried to shut down community rights to video their meetings, invite other trustees from other islands to dialogue with local groups and their most agregious disregard for the local economy with their 11th hour sudden change of view on the Coffee company's greener than green application, leading the applicant on and then curiously denying it based on a point that wasn't even on the table for discussion. Having been a Trust candidate twice since 1996, I have taken more than a casual peanut gallery in how they operate and have watched this monstrosity of bureaucracy double in budget and burdensome redundancy, almost always stretching their mandate beyond the simple land planning committee they were intended to be...

    And Michael this is turning out to be a nice healthy public debate... defend them as you have, Facebook will archive this for all time and I am confident that we both have legitimate points to make about this highly divisive and inadaquate form of governance we endure here on Saltspring. I do get the impression that somehow you imagine that with a 45 day limit for citizens to lodge formal complaints that even the police should maybe give suspects a polite heads up before they bother to arrest them. Sorry but in this case regardless of the lenient ruling, the judge still displayed a glimmer of acknowledgement that this was imprudent behaviour. I do not see future trustees making a similar mistake and for that the effort was worth it, if it brings better fiduciary practices into play so that taxpayers are not Willy nilly supporting inappropriate dissemination of their hard-earned dollars.