Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nanaimo City Hall Cover-up?

Is This Even Legal?

In what many council observers are describing as just plain bizarre city council and city staff seem to be taking extraordinary measures to see the public doesn't find out what happened before the Leadercast simulcast was cancelled by council on May 5th.

At the July 21st special city council meeting which was attended by Mayor Ruttan and Councillors Brennan, Greves, Johnstone and Pattje it was decided to follow staff's advice to consider this notice of motion in-camera. 

I have spoken with three different lawyers none of whom believe you can take a notice of motion in camera, which would make it illegal, if that opinion is correct. They also all agree, that this particular notice of motion does not meet the test for the sections of the Community Charter city staff is claiming gives them the legal right to handle this matter in-camera.

The motion itself, is asking council if they agree to having an investigation undertaken which would look into events leading up to the Leadercast cancellation on May 5th. The sections of the Charter quoted follow, and it appears that none of these provisions apply to this notice of motion.

Reasons given for going IC to discuss notice of motion for Leadercast investigation:

90  (1) A part of a council meeting may be closed to the public if the subject matter being considered relates to or is one or more of the following:

(a) personal information about an identifiable individual who holds or is being considered for a position as an officer, employee or agent of the municipality or another position appointed by the municipality;

(c) labour relations or other employee relations;

(g) litigation or potential litigation affecting the municipality;

(i) the receipt of advice that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, including communications necessary for that purpose;

As with any bizarre behaviour, it spawns all sorts of speculation as to what is really going on here, as it would appear there is something this council and city staff desperately want to keep out of the public realm and away from public scrutiny. The prevailing rumor on the street is that the simulcast was actually cancelled before the May 5th council meeting. If correct this would mean it had been cancelled without proper authority and city council was duped into passing the now infamous motion to cover someone's butt.

Of course this is nothing but pure rumor and speculation, which of course is always the by-product of what happens when officials dummy and lawyer up,which is what appears to be happening at city hall with this latest little drama.

I have filed a complaint with the BC Ombudspersons office asking them to intervene in this whole questionable affair. If you consider the fact that city staff sat by and said nothing about the illegal motion of May 5th and are now engaged in what is questionable decisions surrounding a notice of motion, you might be forgiven for questioning the qualifications of city hall staff making important decisions these days. As for the qualifications of this city council to make important decisions, sadly they do not have a stellar track record, having to look no further than the Colliery Dams Debacle as proof of that conclusion.



  1. Didn't the entire "fiasco" regarding Leadercast 2014 actually begin when Coun. Pattje received a phone call from "one or two" members of the LGBT community on Friday, May 2, 2014?

  2. The old saying, "...and the truth shall set you free" is perhaps one of the most wise and reasonable rules to govern one's life. By trying to cover things up the entire Leadercast debacle is becoming a scandal in the same style as Duffy and the Senate. Had the Tories simply told the entire truth about Duffy up front there would be no Senate scandal reaching into the PMO. Likewise had Ruttan and crew simply been honest up front about the Leadercast debacle this would all be old news. Instead, this is a genuine scandal now that has cost the Nanaimo taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and likely will cost even more as Ruttan, crew, and now staff try to avoid talking about what happened in public.

    Devon Kruggel

  3. Here is a quote from the BC Ombudsperson's Special report:
    "There is a presumption under the Community Charter that meetings of local
    government boards and councils will be open to the public. Sometimes, in
    order to preserve confidentiality in respect of private matters, meetings may be closed. However, as this runs contrary to the principles of openness, transparency and accountability, statutory provisions are in place that limit the circumstances under which local governments can hold closed meetings and ensure appropriate procedures are followed prior to the closure of a meeting. This part of the guide outlines the legislative history and current laws pertaining to open and closed meetings in B.C."

  4. You cannot put a notice-of-motion in-camera, to be discussed behind closed doors. That’s according to a prominent constitutional lawyer I spoke with at the Freedom BBQ. The actual motion itself would have to be brought up at an open city council meeting, where if seconded, would then be debated as to how to handle the matter.

    So once again we have the mayor and four councilors with the help of staff making their own rules. Sweeping another serious matter, an investigation into their ill-conceived cancelling of the LeaderCast convention, under the rug - away from the peering eyes of good taxpayers who pay the bills and who these elected and non-elected bureaucrats must ultimately be made accountable to.

    It’s a fact, you cannot investigate yourself unbiasedly. The same as a police force cannot investigate itself when its officers are involved in a questionable shooting.

    And in this administration’s dictatorial haste, the City of Nanaimo has already deleted the notice-of-motion, read by a councillor at a legitimate open council meeting, from the city’s video website of record. Is that not censorship in a democratic country?

    Council has already been swatted for overlooking the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and backed down. They obviously have not learned.

    If we do not call these renegade acts out-of-order and fiercely fight them, as we recently accomplished, the city will continue on its merry but not open, transparent nor fair way.

    Doesn’t this look like a cover-up?

    Kevan Shaw

    1. Excellent post sir. I think the apt description of this fiasco is SCANDAL.

      Let's just call it what it is. This is a scandal. Maybe we can call it Leadercast-Gate.

      Devon Kruggel

    2. If you feel that the law is on your side then feel free to pursue it. Their are members of the community who would support you.


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