We are a group of Courtenay voters united by a common conviction that the legal persecution of Maple Pool and its residents by Courtenay City Council is perverse, morally reprehensible, and fundamentally contrary to the interests of this community. It is also a gross and inexcusable waste of the taxpayers’ money.
The names of our founding members are listed elsewhere on this site. Membership is open to anyone who wishes to join us. We are not some secret interest group. Perhaps most important, we come from right across the political spectrum. We would disagree amongst ourselves on many other issues. But we are all convinced that this indefensible four year legal vendetta against some of Courtenay’s most vulnerable citizens, together with the ongoing harassment of and defamation against two of Courtenay’s most civic-minded and selfless citizens, constitutes the single most important issue facing this community.
A decisive and final termination of this insane lawsuit is long, long overdue. Yet after two humiliating defeats in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, which have already cost our taxpayers at least $150,000, and in the face of a near unanimous demand by our community that this foolishness cease forthwith, our Councillors continue to tell us that they know better and they will do as they see fit, regardless of our views.
Simply put, this rogue Council must be stopped.
FMP has two broad goals; both require the cessation of this mad lawsuit as a precondition:
- We are dedicated to solving the homeless problem in our community; simple logic dictates that the most important first step toward that end is ensuring that our wayward City Councillors do not increase the present homeless population by throwing the 57 current residents of Maple Pool into the street. Councillors Leonard and Hillian have unsuccessfully attempted to claim that the intent of the lawsuit is not to evict the Maple Pool residents. That claim is simple twaddle; Mr. Justice Baird, in his recent judgement allowing the addition of Maple Pool residents to the lawsuit, pointed out that the application the City has before the court at the present time is for the specific purpose of evicting the tenants.
- We also wish to offer our support to Dali and Jin Lin, two of the finest members of our community. Many of us feel that the Lins have made more selfless contributions to this community than have all the members of Courtenay City Council combined. Courtenay is very lucky to have received the Lins as immigrants. For more than twenty years they have made major contributions to the Comox Valley, far too many to list here. Their present persecution by our City Councillors borders on the obscene.Written commentaries as well as whispered slanders from some in our City Council’s camp have attempted to cast the Lins in the role of slum landlords. To those perpetrating this character assassination, we respond with several simple questions. What slum landlords:
- live on the concerned property, fully integrated in a community with their tenants?
- purchase living quarters for their tenants out of their own pockets?
- help feed residents out of their own pockets?
- personally eliminate long standing drug and alcohol abuse problems in their community?
- organize sports and recreation programs for members of their community?
- are loved and respected by all their tenants?
For four years, Courtenay voters have called on City councillors to cease legal action against the Lins, and to work with them to ensure that the residents of Maple Pool are not forced into the ranks of our already sizeable homeless community. Local media polls indicate that 95% of Courtenay voters want City Council to stop flushing taxpayer dollars down the toilet in pursuit of this action, particularly after the City took two thrashings in Supreme Court and seem hell bent for leather to repeat these experiences at still further cost to Courtenay taxpayers.
The aim of our website is to provide easy public access to all relevant material on this issue. Elsewhere on the site you will find a complete history of this sorry affair, from Council’s opening attack on Maple Pool when the Courtenay “Dog” was being wagged by its Gray tail, right to the present day.
We shall post all statements issued by Courtenay City Hall, unedited, but alongside our own commentaries and fact checks.
Our most Immediate aim is to achieve implementation of the Courtenay electorate’s clearly expressed demand that this ridiculous, expensive, and socially harmful lawsuit against Maple Pool and the people who live there be terminated without further delay.
Some amongst us think this case, currently entered in the court registry as City of Courtenay v. Jin Lin, should be re-named City of Courtenay v. Courtenay City Council.
Most of our municipal business is conducted in secret meetings beyond the purview of Courtenay voters.
Jon Ambler extols the merits of our democracy, but he cannot demonstrate “power of the people” (which is the actual meaning of the word). 95% of this community opposes the lawsuit, but their clearly expressed wishes are studiously ignored by Ambler and his colleagues.
Throughout this sorry and expensive four-year pursuit of a shameful goal, Councillors have consistently hidden behind the shield of the in camera meetings. It is perfectly proper under the Local Government Act for municipal governments to conduct discussions on matters relating to legal advice and legal strategy with respect to ongoing lawsuits in camera. There are good reasons for this exception to the general principle that the people’s business should be conducted in the sunshine. The problem in Courtenay is that our Councillors would appear to have developed a preference for secret governance as a norm, and they seem to invoke the in camera mechanism whenever they confront a controversial subject and fear that their stance might anger voters.
Moreover, the typical response of Councillors to any question about Maple Pool, that the matter is before the courts and Councillors therefore cannot comment, is often an abuse of their office. It is perfectly true that they cannot properly comment on the legal arguments or merits of the case, or make predictions of what a judge will do; it is, however, not the case that Councillors are prohibited from commenting on the policies underlying the lawsuit or any aspect of the Maple Pool situation not related to the legal advice provided to Council by the City’s solicitors, or other direct legal issues. Courtenay Councillors have simply used this excuse as a dodge when questioned or challenged on any issue relating to Maple Pool.
Councillor Winchester’s statements on Maple Pool clearly indicate that she does not understand the nature of the lawsuit, the stage it has reached, or what precisely is before the court.
Yet when it has suited their purposes and been politically expedient, Councillors Ambler, Hillian, and Leonard have in fact commented on the effects of the lawsuit, sometimes disseminating misinformation in the process.
Most significantly, our Councillors have fought tenaciously against having to divulge their voting record on Maple Pool. They are presently resisting a Freedom of Information request for that voting record. Only Mayor Jangula has divulged his stand on Maple Pool. Apparently he is the only person at City Hall who thinks voters have a right to know what goes on behind the walls there.
We feel strongly that the need to treat legal advice and legal strategy confidentially does not make it necessary to keep secret who has voted for this lawsuit and who has voted against it.
We need a council whose members do not think they have a divine right to trample on the clearly expressed will of their constituency.