Here's what she wrote the other day when replying to another correspondent (you can read the whole thread at the group's FB page; Oct. 8 at 6:48 am) ~ "... I’ll say it again, the former CAO was not a friend of mine so people can quit that crap. Perhaps Jeff Bateman would finally be kind enough to admit that he drew a conclusion off something he read on the internet that sparked all this in the first place. Secondly, this community destroyed a persons life by the innuendo you [not me, Ms. Reay is addressing another person here] continue to spread, makes your opinion no better than those you have trashed here. Thirdly why do you ignore the comments of another member of the Hiring Committee, that unequivocally states the hiring process was a rigorous process meeting all HR Standards for all levels of govt hiring across Canada"
So, once more with feeling ~ and since Ms. Reay has again raised the matter in public ~I need to explain myself. To be clear, I am generally a kind person, that's true, and yet to quote the late, great Tom Petty, I won't back down on this matter. Fact: I did not nor ever have suggested she was a "friend" of ex-CAO Teresa Sullivan (who left the District's employ last February after 26 eventful months that proved frustrating for her supporters, detractors and the vast majority of us who simply want Sooke's municipal business to be overseen smoothly and effectively by a city manager earning $140k per annum in salary and training costs).
What I did say (exact quotes in purple further down this page) at the Dec. 14, 2015 council meeting was that I had concerns about Ms. Sullivan's hiring given her and Ms. Reay's connections with the Conservative Party of Canada ~ Reay as the party's former riding association chief in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke and Sullivan as campaign manager for 2015 Conservative candidate Shari Lukens (with whom Sullivan had served on Colwood council from 2011-14).
Rather than rewriting it again, I'm sharing below a long chain of posts from my Facebook page in which I repeatedly (ad nauseum, I know) explain my thinking. Included is my rebuttal to Ms. Reay's reference to me at the Feb. 14, 2017 council meeting at which she revealed she wasn't going to seek re-election due to online bullying. There are also notes on a letter I sent to the Sooke News Mirror, my thoughts on the ex-CAO's hiring of the ex-Corporate Officer (yes, it gets a little complicated), and observations about the abrupt departures of some key long-time District staff in the wake of Ms. Sullivan's arrival.
It's all ancient history, I realize, yet it remains a flashpoint and likely should be an election issue given that incumbent councillors Pearson and Kasper are again seeking a seat and served as the other two-thirds of the hiring committee. Neither have dedicated any time at all (to my knowledge) these last few months to sharing their thoughts about Sullivan's hiring and troubled tenure. (Councillor Pearson did acknowledge at the All-Candidates debate last week that capable CAOs are in short supply generally speaking and filling the role is a problem faced by many municipalities. I'd think that Mayor Tait, given her top-rank connections with the Union of BC Municipalities, would be perfectly positioned to assist the District's new Human Resources officer -- a position that didn't exist at the time of Sullivan's hiring -- in securing a solid short list of candidates.)
To recap: The hiring committee (chaired by Reay with Kasper and Pearson) voted with Councillor Bev Berger in favour of giving the job to Sullivan at a council meeting dated Nov. 20, 2015; Councillors Logins and Parkinson voted against. Mayor Tait was on pregnancy leave at the time. With the Mayor back in office five months later, Council gave Sullivan a unanimous vote of confidence at the conclusion of her probationary period. (Ms. Reay is not happy with the Sooke PocketNews coverage of the Sullivan years, but I'll link it here since, for me and many, it's the most solid and well-reported record of the matter you'll find out there.)
I have respected Ms. Reay as a councillor, and have learned much from witnessing her reasoned, cautious (re: the dangers of council making "motions on the fly," for instance), compassionate yet level-headed approach to discussions and decisions. We certainly disagree on some key big-picture issues, notably our respective stances on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (she, as I said, is a Conservative federally and ran for the BC Liberals locally in 2013; I voted Liberal federally in 2015 and have backed John Horgan at the provincial level. I'd also likely have voted for NDP-er Rick Kasper in the '90s had I lived here then).
As for the still lingering matter in question, I've talked to Ms. Reay about it in person a number of times, most recently while snacking on smoked salmon at the Charters River Salmon Interpretive Centre two Sundays ago. Yet I'm clearly not getting my point across. So, in a final (I trust) effort to set things straight, I share a series of pertinent FB posts in reverse chronological order. https://www.facebook.com/batemansookebc
Feb 27, 2017 4:56pm
"It's taken awhile, but after a friend laughingly accused me of bullying not long after Pink Shirt Day last week, I was advised to watch Councillor Kerrie Reay's Feb. 14 council address and listen for my name. I did so for the first time this afternoon, at least up until the point where the councillor states that, at the meeting of Dec. 14, 2015, I accused her of conflict of interest in her role as chair of the council committee that hired CAO Sullivan. Yikes! Did I flat-out accuse her of this? Memories can be tricky, mine definitely included. I'd intended to ask, in the public interest, for further clarity about Ms. Sullivan's hiring. But maybe in my shambolic fashion I'd gone too far.
So I went back to the video replay of said meeting. It was a rare full house in council chambers. Arts supporters had turned out in numbers regarding the Community Grant process. The shock waves and sadness over Bonnie Sprinkling's sudden departure were in the air. It was also CAO's Sullivan's first meeting. Acting Mayor Pearson had to quiet the crowd a few times, noting "there's passion in the room."
I've now revisited my turn at the mic that night 15 months ago. Here's what I said in closing:
"Welcome to our new CAO Teresa Sullivan. Welcome and best wishes in the position. My one concern regards the hiring process. Councillor Reay, who leads the hiring committee, is past president of the Conservative Party of Canada’s riding association in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke. Ms. Sullivan was most recently campaign manager for (ESS) Conservative party candidate Shari Lukens.”
I then acknowledge that I was an ABC (Anything But Conservative) voter in the federal election of a mere seven weeks earlier and incoherently come to a stop before getting to the point:
“It strikes me as a potential conflict of interest and I’d appreciate some clarification and perhaps some simple transparency about how the process of hiring our town’s top civil servant took place.”
Good, that's a relief then: I did not directly accuse Councillor Reay of wrongdoing. I asked a question in what I believed then (and still do) is the public interest and which I think qualifies as fair comment. Of course, I never received an answer and long ago learned that I shouldn't expect one. Facts: The hiring was an in-camera decision made by a designated council committee (Reay, Kasper and Pearson). Due diligence was apparently done in seeking capable and suitable candidates. The Mayor and council later approved the hiring. All was done by the book and is, frankly, none of the public's business.
In fact, I was quick to say as much, as per this letter sent a year ago and published in the Sooke News Mirror. It reads in part: "Like many, I'm curious about the political ties linking Councillor Reay (former Conservative Party riding association president) and CAO Teresa Sullivan (campaign manager for CPC candidate Shari Lukens). As one of the 82.3 percent of Esquimalt Saanich Sooke voters who cast ballots for other parties, I never imagined a rising Conservative tide might conceivably be lapping on our shores.
I'd also have been compelled to seek clarity if a hiring scenario like this was conjured by senior campaigners affiliated with any federal party. To me, it's simply not cricket, no matter how gifted the hiree nor how theoretically little political worldviews impact on bricks/mortar municipal governance.
As is their right under the Government Act, the hiring committee has revealed nothing about the CAO recruitment process. I'm relieved, however, to hear Councillor Reay announce that she has kept Mayor Tait apprised of all developments. If indeed it's okay by the individual we overwhelmingly elected to lead Sooke forward, then that's a vote of confidence I accept and celebrate. Viva Sooke/T'Sou-ke - ancient, old, new, emergent.
I'm actually pretty chilled these days by this subject. Done deal, case closed, let's move on. I wish the knowledgeable and skilled (from all reports I've heard) Ms. Sullivan the best in working with Council and our returning Mayor as they tackle the minutiae of municipal business."
Postscript: Okay, now that I've set the record somewhat straight about myself in this context, I've gone ahead and listened to the rest of Councillor Reay's speech. Like many, I regret that she's had to take this decision. As she says, some people have gone WAY too far, especially (as I've said before on this page) those who threaten staff or (as I've now learned) council members at their homes. (The incident with Councillor Reay's dog is truly mean-spirited and cruel - whoever did that, shame on you, what kind of brute are you?). As for those relative few who drop unthinking, gossipy, egregious, borderline litigious bombs into otherwise interesting, engaging and well-intentioned comment threads on social or online media, please STOP, keep your reactivity to yourself, and save us all from having to process your juvenile views and opinions."
Apr 06, 2016 3:58pm
(written after learning of Councillor Kasper's infamous parking lot rendezvous with Mayor Tait's husband)
"I rather regret using the word "good" in relation to the Sooke News Mirror in the opening line of my last post after the drama of today's unsubstantiated front-page piece about what I've taken to calling (since this is the wild west, after all) the Shoot-out at the SoOKe Corral. As I just wrote over at the FB group Sooke Issues (where the discussion is blowing up and turning a little fractious): "Fact: None of us know what happened the night of March 23. There's no videocam record and the regrettably sensationalistic SNM article is based on a single anonymous source. This person's definition of "aggressive behaviour" might be seen by another as "assertive and forthright" ... Let's all calm down and wait for more information. Monday night's council meeting -- Mayor Tait's first since September - should be fascinating. 7 p.m. start and you'll need to get there early to grab a seat."
Also a bone to pick with Mr. Laird: Your choice of a sweet photo of Mamma Maja with her son to illustrate the flip-page of an article titled 'Police Called After Altercation At Council" is in poor taste. The story -- and the respect that needs to be paid to the office of the Mayor -- calls for a formal photo, not an image that belongs with a personality profile.
To end on an upbeat note, thanks for a second-week running to Mr. Laird for his editorial. The groanworthy "labour pains" headline aside, this week's column about Mayor Tait's rights under the BC Employment Standards Act is right-on. "Tait is entitled to everything she left behind when she went on parental leave" - her CRD directorship included. Hopefully this will be sorted out quickly on Monday night or in whatever in-camera session council has planned (because if indeed council voted to gave Councillor Kasper the CRD directorship for 2016 without taking into account Mayor Tait's return, they seemingly did so in private ... or at least I can't find any public record of it, and that may be my oversight).
Mr. Kasper was appointed in December when the CRD made its annual board announcement, and I'm confident he'll do the right thing by stepping back into his alternate-director role now that the Mayor is back. As I've noted before, we gave her a 2/3rds majority for this town's top elected position and we, the majority of voters, have every right to expect her to be representing us at regional and provincial levels - just as Mayors Evans and Milne have done in the past." https://www.crd.bc.ca/about/news/2015/12/09/capital-regional-district-announces-2016-board-chair
Apr 04, 2016 7:33pm
(musings about a News Mirror article at time of Mayor Tait's return from pregnancy leave)
"Good to see @Sooke News Mirror editor Kevin Laird dedicating last week's editorial to the return of Mayor Mom™ ;-). As he writes, it is indeed great to have our popular elected leader back in office. Ms. Tait won a two-thirds majority based on her inspiring vision, personality, smarts, work ethic and two-term experience in local government. And with baby Ewan in tow, she is all the more emblematic of the New Sooke, a place where young families are as essential to our town's future as zoomer retirees and a non-commuting adult labour force. Along with Harbourside Cohousing, the @T'Sou-ke Nation and the outliers in our funky independent business community, she's a big part of why Sooke is more widely viewed these days as an intriguing, off-the-beaten-path municipality with character, spirit, ready access to the super, natural west coast and heaping helpings of promise and potential. I'll echo what Laird and everyone I meet in my rounds around town these days is saying: Welcome back, Maja, you've been missed.
While I appreciated Laird's editorial, I do question a few of his lines. Like this one in relation to council's actions in her six-month absence: "Sometimes you got the sense that (Acting Mayors Pearson, Reay and Kasper) were just waiting for your return before they could get down to serious work." Excuse me? This crew sitting on their hands? Not likely and quite the contrary. Let me count a few of the ways they're taken the opportunity to shape the immediate and longer-term future of Sooke:
1. The acting mayors formed the hiring committee that brought in CAO Sullivan, an action that, in turn, triggered a seismic overhaul of municipal staff.
2. Councillor Reay's tenure as Acting Mayor ended with the surprise announcement of the really rather massive (by our municipal standards) $1.4 million purchase of the land behind Evergreen Mall, a portion of which is reserved for our new library but otherwise no other plans have been revealed.
3. Councillor Kasper again led the five-year budget deliberations, ensuring with the rest of the staff/council team that this year's tax hike is the bare minimum and that the plan maintains necessary future big spends on the connector road network, sidewalks and waterfront town centre development. Bravo!
4. Out of the blue, the District opted last week not to renew the EPCOR sewer contract. Instead Sooke will run the system itself with the help of contracted pros. Unlike the transparent public process that led to EPCOR getting a five-year extension in 2011, this weighty decision was made in-camera by council and staff.
5. We're now on course for new $1m all-weather fields at Fred Milne Park thanks to Councillor Berger's recognition that the District's reserve funds don't have to remain tucked away in perpetuity and can be put to good immediate use.
6. In addition to all this action, we're invited to vote on April 30 in the SEAPARC golf-course purchase referendum; major zoning bylaw revisions have been executed along with a sea-change in how the public is expected to address council; community groups and non-profits have been put on notice that Community Grant funding is finite; and a Tait-less council initially danced enthusiastically with the blue-sky visionaries at the Greater Victoria Economic Development Agency only to then drop out without explanation to explore partnering up with west-shore allies instead.
So, Mr. Laird, I beg to differ: Rather than twiddling thumbs and "stumbling along," council has taken substantial and impactful actions in the Mayor's absence that will resonate for some time to come. While it's fine to end by stating that "everyone is expecting you (Maja) to lead the way and move forward," I'd argue that this too is naive. As Mayor Milne discovered, it takes patience, perseverance and considerable composure and sang-froid to ride herd on a council as strong-willed and experienced as this one. (After all, our recent Acting Mayors have either vied for the Big Chair themselves or have had aspirations to higher office, i.e., 2013 BC Liberal candidate Ms. Reay.)"
Feb 22, 2016 3:50pm
(long form of a SNM letter to the editor that was subsequently edited by the paper)
"My letter to the Sooke News Mirror wasn't published last week, though maybe there will be space for it this time. Here's the long-form version I first submitted prior to being asked to cut it back to the allowableable 300 words. It's a variation on what I posted here earlier and I'm sharing it here because, well, it's my page and I'll do what i wanna ... :-)
"Jeff" - a four-letter word - appearing in Lorne Christensen's Op Ed piece in the Feb. 10 Sooke News Mirror. A few points in reply, if indeed the reference is addressed to yours truly:
i) I'm not sure which "blog" Mr. Christensen refers to, but I don't post my opinions under pseudonyms anywhere or anytime, though other Mildreds, Davids and Jeffs in town might.
ii) Like many locals, I did and still do have concerns about the intimate Conservative Party of Canada affiliations of the party's former local riding association president, Councillor Reay (who also chaired the District's hiring committee), and CAO Teresa Sullivan, who most recently was campaign manager for Conservative candidate Shari Lukens. I stated this publically at a council meeting before Christmas, hopefully politely and with due respect, but perhaps not enough. (I'd describe it as a plaintive query and request for clarity from a guy who, like 82.3 percent of Esquimalt Saanich Sooke voters, had cast a ballot for another party mere weeks earlier and never imagined that a rising Conservative tide might conceivably be lapping on our municipal shores).
iii) I'd also have been compelled to seek clarity if a hiring scenario like this was conjured by federal campaigners with incontestable ties to the Liberals, Greens, NDP, Communists, Rhino Party of Canada or whoever - to me, it's simply not cricket, no matter how gifted the hiree nor how theoretically little political worldviews impact on the bricks-and-mortar decisions made at the municipal level.
iv) Of course, that's my opinion and, as the Local Government Act makes clear, it's ultimately none of my nor anyone else's business. The hiring decision was made in camera by a committee of three (Councillors Reay, Kasper and Pearson). As is their right, they have offered no insights into the recruitment process nor spoken about their deliberations. Case closed. (I'm much relieved, however, to hear Acting Mayor Reay say at Council last week that she has kept Mayor Tait apprised of developments in her absence (not that this signals approval from our Mayor). If all this rapid change at the District is okay by the individual we elected by a two-thirds majority to lead Sooke forward, then that's a vote of confidence I accept and celebrate. Viva Sooke/T'Sou-ke - ancient, old, new and emergent.)
v) Apart from my comment at council and a similar post at the time on my Facebook page, I'm actually pretty chilled these days by this subject while remaining curious and engaged. In fact, I sincerely (read: I mean it, this is genuine and for whatever it's worth) wish the knowledgeable, skilled and focused (from all reports I've heard) Ms. Sullivan the best in working with Council and our returning Mayor as they enact the Strategic Plan, refresh the Official Community Plan and tackle all the minutiae of municipal business.
vi) Not the least paradoxically, I also agree with Harrison Lansing's letter in last week's paper calling for transparency and accountability in public hiring processes.
7083 Briarwood Place
Feb. 10, 2016
(edited to remove text I later used in the SNM letter above ... PS Congrats on you likely very few who've read this far! No prizes save for a virtual high-five from Candidate Jeff)
"From all reports (I'm not yet met Ms. Sullivan, so no personal insights), she's hard working, smart, connected, likeable, talented ... and clearly unafraid to take command at Municipal Hall. Of course, it's for those very reasons and qualities that we elected Mayor Tait to the Big Chair, and won't it be great to have her back at the helm of the ship of state soon-ish - because Mayor Tait is much more than one vote among seven, she's the one more than two-thirds of we voters overwhelmingly chose to lead us further out of the dark ages of municipal adolescence and truly begin maximizing our town's promise & potential.
There must be more graceful, compassionate ways to ensure lines of succession for senior staff than what we've witnessed lately (i.e., had Ms. Sprinkling not earned the right to participate in the selection & mentoring of her successor while exiting District employ on her own timetable?).
Finally, I was impressed by Ms. Sullivan's response to a rare comment i posted in the Sooke PocketNews (replicating exactly what i wrote here on Dec. 8). Her reply: "Thank you, Jeff. Exciting times for Sooke. Mayor and Council have found a responsible balance between economic development and respecting green space and the natural beauty of the wild west coast. I look forward to introducing myself to the community. I’ve worked with the provincial Socreds, NDP, Liberal Party as well as the CPC and many stakeholders – both private, non-for-profit and public sectors. I had a wonderful experience sitting with Colwood City Council from 2011 to 2013. Mayor and six Councillors who respected one another who chose to ‘get2yes’ (my twitter hashtag). I am proud of the work I’ve done and look forward to getting to know you better."
So, in closing, slack is formally cut for Ms. Sullivan from me here in my obscure corner of Web. 2.0 (not that it ever wasn't and for whatever it's worth). Not at all paradoxically, I also agree with Harrison Lansing's letter in this week's SNM calling for transparency and accountability in public hiring processes."
Feb. 4, 2016, 11:34 am
(first thoughts on new CO Gabryel Joseph; after a year during which he introduced some sharp new procedural mechanisms, he promptly jumped to a bigger pond (the City of Port Coquitlam) and was replaced by Carolyn Mushata, a skilled, experienced civic-government veteran who is a grounded, professional civic governance oracle in council chambers, much like Bonnie Sprinkling before her.)
"On another front, local media is reporting that Gabryel Joseph has been hired away from the City of Edmonton to fill Bonnie Sprinkling's seat as Director of Corporate Services effective earlier this week. Sleuths who search Twitter and Facebook for his accounts will discover interesting insights into his character and worldview, and his LinkedIn profile gives you his professional background (which includes a commendation from CAO Teresa Sullivan from when they were both involved with the British Columbia Anesthesiologist's Society in 2013/14, so clearly she knows him and figures he'll make an ideal sidekick). Still lots of grief, anger and disbelief out there at Ms. Sprinkling's trap-door exit (at least in the circles in which I travel), but let's welcome Mr. Joseph and give him every benefit of the doubt. (i.e., scanning his Twitter account, it appears he has insights into Edmonton's solid waste-to-biofuels project, an energy-smart initiative that could well work at our wastewater treatment plant.)"
Jan. 27, 2016, 3:19 pm
(posted after getting a bounced back email sent to then-Corporate Officer Bonnie Sprinkling which revealed she'd suddenly left the District after 16 years employment)
":-( Wow, this automatic reply to an email i just sent shocked and saddened me. I've no insights into the back story, but like so many here in Sooke, I was impressed by Ms. Sprinkling's class, knowledge, kindness, patience, responsiveness, empathy and deep understanding of the minutiae of municipal governance. Respect to her and thanks for her many years of local public service (a decade or more). May the road rise up to meet her whatever life brings next.
(from the comments thread): At Monday night's council meeting, the CAO clearly stated that she's entirely responsible for staff decisions, so Ross is right: new broom, predictable story (and nice cover for any councillors who might wish to see changes in staff ranks, of course). Broken record time, but, as stated on this page awhile back, I'm concerned that figures so intimately associated with the Conservative Party of Canada are now embedded in our municipal government. I've no doubt they will do a fine, perhaps outstanding, job with Sooke's corporate strategic plan, yet it's the mindset that may colour their worldviews that concerns me. These are folks who passionately backed the Harper government and campaigned for its continuance despite all the evidence that it had seriously gone off the rails in so many and varied ways (http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2015/08/10/Harper-Abuses-of-Power-Final). Federal politics is a nasty, name-calliing business as we witnessed so vividly last fall, ever thus and still is ... for a pertinent local example, visit Shari Lukens's Facebook page, where she recently called PM Trudeau "classless" and is delighting in posting as many National Post hatchet jobs on the new gang in Ottawa as she can find. It's confrontational and very much an 'us' vs. 'them' mentality. It would truly be a shame if these kind of divisive, cut-throat, our-way-or-the-highway practices were to take hold here in what I've always pictured (in my admittedly naive fashion) as a friendly, neighbourly, "perfectly imperfect" (TM JB) little town with heart & soul to spare. All this said, let's hope Ms. Sprinkling did step down willingly and wasn't pushed."
Dec 08, 2015 3:49pm
(a first FB post upon learning of CAO Sullivan's hiring and days prior to my fateful turn at the mic that has generated all this rear-view mirror gazing today)
"Oil-spill emergency response, tourism opportunities, our shabby (and not likely to be replaced) x-ray facility and Community Grant funding cuts for arts groups dominated last night's lively, well-attended COW meeting, yet the most significant news was the introduction of Teresa Sullivan as the District's new Chief Administrative Officer.
She arrives at an interesting moment: roundabout complete, investment in the town core poised for at least a mini-boom now that the infrastructure's improved, Harbourside Cohousing opening its doors next month ... and the Greater Victoria Development Agency now onside as a new collaborative partner to begin putting us more creatively on the South Island map in ways that we (i.e., the Official Community Plan) want us to be placed. Here's the District's press release on Ms. Sullivan's hiring via the Sooke PocketNews]. Not mentioned is that she was most recently campaign manager for Conservative Party of Canada candidate Shari Lukens] (whom she sat alongside on Colwood council circa 2011-14; one of their colleagues was Judith Cullington, campaign manager for Frances Litman - Green Party.
Neither does the release tell us of the hiring process, but I do trust Mayor Tait, several councillors and senior District staff were all involved. (I'm sure Councillor Kerrie Reay absented herself given that she's riding president for the Esquimalt Saanich Sooke Conservatives.)
Anyway, welcome to Ms. Sullivan, stepping into big administrative shoes filled over the last 15 years by the departing Gord Howie (thanks for the public service and, since he's a member of the Ekoos ensemble, the songs), Evan Parliament, Peter Jmaeff, Tom Day and David Gawley."
BONUS: And, while I'm at, here's a Jan. 2015 FB post that references Ms. Reay and discusses the fallout of the successful "no more tankers" plebiscite question that Jo Phillips and I lobbied for on behalf of Transition Sooke ...
Jan 23, 2015 4:00pm
":-) to the District of Sooke for sending an email reminder about Monday night's council agenda to me and who knows who else in the bcc line. High fives to Ms. Sprinkling and those responsible for this simple new strategy. A courteous gesture that will ensure more bums in seats in the future and a more efficient democratic process.
I'm on the list because council is debating how to deal with the 2/3rds YES vote on November's oil tanker plebiscite. Hopefully an invite's also gone to Jo Phillips, who launched the process with me last summer. And to the dozen-plus locals who stood up at the council mic to express their concerns last fall ... and that includes reps from the Sooke Salmon Enhancement Society and the Dogwood Initiative's local chapter.
I'd also hope former councillor Haldane has been given a head's up. It was his rousing council speech back in mid September that turned the tide and gave Sooke a plebiscite rather than more modest, low-key actions recommended by staff and endorsed by Mayor Milne (i.e., an online survey and fresh resolution). Anyway, I'm curious to witness council's next move.
Two weeks back a draft "renew and restate opposition to tankers" resolution was returned to staff to remove one too many "whereas" and "furthermore" clauses. Councillor Pearson, for one, noted that it went beyond the ballot question's mandate. This Monday's agenda package on the subject -- all 96 (!) pages of it -- surprisingly (to me) doesn't include a reworked resolution, and instead regurgitates existing background material dating back to the initial docs that Jo and I filed last summer.
All that's missing is a transcript of Councillor Reay's prepared statement that she read in council a fortnight ago. (skip to 45:28 of the Jan. 12 meeting available at http://sooke.ca/online-services/council-videos/regular-council-video). Watch for yourself, but here's my take on what she said:
Echoing BC Liberal (for whom Ms. Reay ran back in 2013) and federal Conservative talking points, she tells us she'll be voting against any resolution on the subject no matter how it's worded. There are some obvious upsides to a resource-based economy, she noted, including jobs and funding for social programs. Without these revenues, a number of Sooke families would suffer, especially as jobs vanish in the oil patch. Ms. Reay also felt the plebiscite process wasn't fair since no individuals or groups publically championed the 'no' position. Instead, the brochures, info booths and drive-by rallies all delivered the Team Yes message. (Sitting in the cheap seats back on Jan. 12 listening to Ms. Reay, my thought was, 'hmmmm, why didn't you voice your reservations during the election and lead the dissent in what could have turned into a authentic point/counter-point debate?')
As you'll see if you continue watching the replay, Councillor Parkinson followed up by noting that her brother works in the oil industry and that she too would like to have heard "from both sides, not just one." Then over to Councillor Logins, who took a cheerworthy opposite tact and said firmly that she'd be voting in favour of any council resolution to honour a democratic vote. Bravo.
Council has much bigger roundabout-shaped fish to fry, of course, so hopefully they'll cut to the chase, do the right thing in honouring the Nov. 15 results and pass a resolution at the council level. Then, as an exclamation point, our new group of seven (Coucillor Reay excepted, of course) might champion a sister resolution of some kind that can be brought to the AVICC (Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities) convention in April. Something perhaps related to how we need an independent BC review of the Trans Mountain and Northern Gateway proposals - an ask now being made by groups and individuals troubled by how the National Energy Board is handling the process.
Whew, that was a doozy, if you're read this far, trust it made sense and I've not put dear reader into a coma."
~ end ~
Echoing that last line to say: Likewise with this marathon! Okay, now that the record is hopefully again somewhat straight, onwards with a final week of campaigning.