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Local Government-staying within the law

I must bring you part two of Priscilla ‘s series on local government.  She brings insight and knowledge into this level of governent and how they operate in BC.  I think it is imperative that we examine every level of government and how they operate, after CSIS astonishing revelation that municipal governments in BC had been infiltrated by outside interests.  The responses from the RCMP into requests for a criminal investigation are interesting, given that the RCMP are currently negotiating a 20 year contract with the Provincial Government.  After covering several political asses by cherrypicking their investigation into BC Rail, the RCMP are, hat in hand, looking for a mandate of their own.

Not to forget Laila’s questions into the RCMP investigation into the accident alledgedly caused by the Mayor of Surrey, I think this is an issue that we need to examine closely, this relationship between the police and government.  Here is Priscilla’s second article in the series.

Almost three years ago, Lumby Council undertook the pursuit of a Provincial prison for Lumby. Without  elected mandate they began in-camera meetings and secret discussions even though a prison held no place within the Official Community Plan (OCP).  What we learned later is that Council can, by legislated authority, discuss, plan and negotiate anything in secret.  Their only obligation before implementation is to consult, but there again – Council is not obliged to accept the result of consultation.   In fact, a Local Council can draft secret resolutions to impose vastly unpopular agendas (do whatever they want) as long as Council considers it beneficial’ or ‘significant’ to the community.   Wow! Who would have thought such a thing possible?

The corporate nature of municipal government  -  Part 2

The actions of Lumby Council are well documented and the huge gap between  citizen’s expectations and what Council delivered was more than confusing.  Lumby Council dismissed the referendum outcome and opted for a prison in spite of the vote tally leaving citizens wondering what happened to Council’s professed transparency and accountability.

Information from Council minutes, News articles, letters to the paper,  correspondence from BC Ministers, transcripts of meetings, e-mails, hearsay and gossip that fueled the fire of conflict; were sent to the RCMP for investigation. The RCMP conducted an in-depth analysis on the facts, theories and allegations and for brevity, I have summarized the RCMP advice:

Lumby Council received presentations during regular council meetings. A town meeting was held.  An official referendum under the regulatory provisions of the Local Government Act was conducted in order to seek public opinion on the matter. All of these processes meet the guidelines stipulated in the Local  Government Act and the Community Charter.

That in-depth analysis is important because a secret unpopular prison proposal was imposed in spite of clear opposition.  By meeting the “guidelines stipulated in the Local  Government Act and the Community Charter” this process could be used in your community and let’s hope it’s not to impose a hazardous waste facility, a nuclear waste storage site, an oil pipeline, a superhighway or any other unsavoury project.

Apparently, Council is permitted to tear apart the fabric of a community, set neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend, husband against wife or children against parents, destroy tourist businesses or force you to move.

More insight from the RCMP letter:

“Elected officials are permitted to act and advocate on behalf of their communities while abiding by applicable legislation.

The construction of a correctional facility within the Village of Lumby would undoubtedly have significant impact on that community, including Area D.

I recognize that many residents of the area share your concerns as to the process by which council has introduced the Village’s candidacy to host a correctional facility and the  appearance of lack of transparency in that process. However, the means by which the concept originated and the subsequent in-camera discussions held by council prior to the matter becoming public did not violate any laws.”

and further:

“The six month limitation of action has expired regarding allegations of procedural deficiencies that may have occurred during council or public meetings leading to the referendum, therefore the investigation of those alleged deficiencies would serve no purpose. There are no grounds to initiate a Criminal Code investigation into this matter.”

So at least we all know what can be done under the Local  Government Act and the Community Charter in secrecy but just because they can do it doesn’t make it right.  We need to network – present a strong and united face so that Government balances the legislation to let us hold our officials accountable.  We need to prevent abusive powers being used against a community.  Powers that are granted to our local Municipal Councils are without controls and we need to take back our community for the living breathing people who should have more rights than a corporation.

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Tags: Community Charter , Local Government Act , Lumby Council votes for a prison , Nature of the Corporate Government , NO Lumby Prison , staying within the law

2 comments to Local Government-staying within the law

  • Linda

    There isn’t one nook or cranny in this province, that isn’t corrupt. BC is foul to the core. There is not one institution in this province, that isn’t on the take. Campbll/Clark and the BC Liberals, made it so.

    I marvel at the way, the BC Liberals, have no conscience. I wonder if they have been brought up that way, and will they bring their children up that same way? What in the hell kind of a society do we have here?

    Harper the Christian, is adding to the break down of ethics and morals in this country. He and Campbell worked hand in hand to disgrace this entire country, in the eyes of the world. Harper took the most corrupt, worst despised and evil politician in Canadian history, and gave him, the most posh job in the world. And yes, the world has taken note. Canada’s good name has been totally destroyed. We are just another corrupt country, with no democracy. Canada is, just another dictatorship country.

  • priscilla

    In Lumby, we came to realize that it may not be people who are corrupt but that our system corrupts people. In the interest of money, the “economy” became more valuable that friendship and community. Sadly, human life and our planet don’t rate high enough to be factored into our legislative equation.

    We can change that. Together, we can quietly stand up and ask the government to recognize the importance of human breathing people, community and a future with air and food and respect.

    It’s time to organize for the next elections -local, Provincial and Federal. So, I’ll see you at the polling station with your friends and mine and all those voters who haven’t voted before – surely we will strike down the government and corruption with a stroke of the pen. How is that for power?