Does Audio Recording and Transcript of the August 11, 2017 Council Meeting Beach Raking Discussion Suggest that Janice Jackson, Jay Kirkland, and Matt Jackson Are Guilty of the Offence of Damaging Piping Plover Habitat?

Section 37 of the endangered species act reads:

“If a corporation commits an offence under this Act, an officer, director, employee or agent of the corporation who directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the offence is party to and guilty of the offence and is liable on conviction to the punishment provided for the offence, whether or not the corporation has been prosecuted for the offence.”

The audio of the August 11, 2017 council discussion of beach raking is at: http://saublesewer.devuna.com/AudioDocuments.html

(Choose “2017”, then August 11, 2017 Special Council Meeting.  The beach discussion starts at 00:43:00 [hr/min/sec] and ends about 01:03:41)

A transcript of the audio is at:

http://www.craiggammie.com//documents/Transcriptpartaugust112017councilrebeachrake.pdf

In law they are presumed innocent, but still the August 11, 2017 council meeting audio recording and transcript may suggest that Janice Jackson, Jay Kirkland, and Matt Jackson “directed, authorized, assented to, acquiesced in or participated in the commission of the offence” of damaging piping plover habitat at the beach August and September 2017, and may thus be accountable per section 37.

They should resign immediately. And if they are held accountable in a court of law, they should not be allowed to force the residents to pay their fines.

Also from the August 11, 2017 audio and transcript, it is clear that Ana Vukovic and I tried to stop the bulldozing of plover habitat.

Like so many others, I bet on the wrong horse in 2014.   I will not make the same mistake in October.

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Janice Jackson starts the mayoral race with a gratuitous and dishonest personal attack against her opponent Ana Vukovic (8-4)

In an interview with OSST reporter Denis Langlois, Mayoral Candidate Ana Vukovic properly stuck to the issues while candidate Janice Jackson chose to dishonestly bad-mouth Ana Vukovic (https://www.wiartonecho.com/news/local-news/jackson-vukovic-in-race-for-south-bruce-peninsula-mayor/wcm/5df68160-147e-4d30-a833-f87bd0e4a97a).

In what follows I provide counterpoint to Ms. Jackson’s ad hominem attacks.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“South Bruce Peninsula’s council sessions have been marred this term by “childish outbursts,” personal attacks and shocking tantrums, says incumbent councillor and mayoral candidate Ana Vukovic. The decorum has never been so bad, she said, in the 11 years she has been at the council table.”

“It’s a toxic environment. What I have experienced in the last year-and-a-half has been just unbearable. This has to be changed,” [Ana] said Friday in an interview.

“Vukovic, who submitted her nomination papers Wednesday to challenge incumbent Mayor Janice Jackson, said one of the key planks of her election platform is a vow to bring back “civility and respect” to local government. It is the job of the mayor to keep order in the council chambers, but that has not been done this term, [Ana] said.”

Ms. Vukovic is correct. There has been a lack of decorum, and a toxic environment, and lack of “civility and respect”.  All in my experience are due to Ms. Jackson’s tactic of bullying and harassing any council member who dares to disagree with her, and also Ms. Jackson’s total disregard for the procedural rules, and use (abuse) of the rules to shut out any member who does not agree with her.  In my view Ms. Jackson created the toxic environment and Ms. Jackson is the cause of the disorder and chaos.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“Jackson, ….. said she has faced “unprecedented challenges” as mayor because of former councillor Craig Gammie.”

That’s ridiculous and unsupportable.  I broke no council rules. I was never found by council to be in breach of any rules.  But it’s true I disagreed with Ms. Jackson, and quite often.  I do believe her when she says she found my dissenting views challenging.  But that does not give her the right to make false and hurtful allegations, or to bully, or harass, or punish me (or anyone else) for disagreeing with her.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“[Ms. Jackson] said it was disheartening to watch Vukovic “distance herself” from the rest of council and support Gammie in his final months on council.”

Ana has a lot of experience and wisdom.  She has disagreed with the mayor and the “rest of council” on many issues.  But in every case she disagreed with and voted against the rest of council not because she wanted to vote with me, but rather because she had considered the matters at hand very carefully and had determined that the “rest of council” was on a track that was not in the best interests of the residents.

Ms. Jackson does not seem to understand that Ms. Vukovic is quite capable of thinking for herself.  Ms. Jackson’s arrogance won’t let her even consider that a mere councillor could be right and she could be wrong.  Ana disagreed with the Mayor.   And true to form, the mayor attacked Ana for it.

From the Langlois OSST article:

““I can see now that Ana has created a ruckus at the council table to position herself for a second mayoral run,” [J. Jackson] said.”

“Ana” did not “create a ruckus at the council table”.  If she had it would have been recorded as a breach.  That did not happen.  Ms. Vukovic called out the May 1 bullying and harassment not to “create a ruckus” but rather because it needed to be called out.

When a council member disagrees with Ms. Jackson it gets spun as “created a ruckus”. That does not make it a ruckus. It just exposes Ms. Jackson as insecure and untruthful.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“I have been utterly disappointed because I expected maturity from our most senior council member.” [J. Jackson] said.”

Considering the attacks on her, Ms. Vukovic has shown remarkable restraint and maturity.  It’s Ms. Jackson’s bullying and harassing actions that are juvenile.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“Gammie was twice escorted by police out of council meetings and issued trespassing tickets in 2015.”

I was twice removed from my council seat and charged on allegations of trespassing.  The allegations were absolutely groundless, all based on Ms. Jackson falsely accusing  me of breaching a council rule.  The trespassing charges were dropped, with no admission of guilt, or of breach of any council rule.

That false trespassing allegation was just another in a long series of false allegations against me, including:

1) That I defamed the CAO ($750,000 lawsuit 2012 – dropped when the town ceased paying the CAO’s legal fees),

2) That I contravened the Professional Engineers Act (charges dropped 2013, no admission of wrongdoing),

3) That I shoved the pointed end of a stick into a man’s stomach so hard he doubled over in pain (2014 – no stick ever came near the man – the discussion was recorded on video),

4)That I breached the Law Society Act (2017 – I was completely cleared by the law society),

5) That I contravened the Professional Engineers Act (2016 – did not even get to charges)

6) That I harassed the clerk (no one would put a complaint in – allegations were goundless),

(and more).

There was never any finding of guilt by a competent tribunal.

Anyone can make false allegations.  Usually without consequence to the one making the false allegations.  But often with serious consequences for the accused.  Making false allegations is nasty and cowardly.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“Council later invited Gammie back to the table (after the trespassing charges).”

Denis missed the point.  Ms. Jackson proclaimed in May 2015 that unless I apologized and the apology was accepted by council I was out for the term.   I proclaimed that I would not apologize because I did not break the council rule I was accused of breaking.  I was not invited back to the table.  I just came back.  Ms. Jackson decided not to call the police a third time because the town lawyer told her that removing me was improper and the trespassing charges were groundless and that trying to keep me out would be improper and if Ms. Jackson persisted a judge would order me back in.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“Council voted in December to declare Gammie’s seat vacant, which Jackson at the time said they had to do because he had missed three consecutive months of meetings without council’s permission.”

Council could have presumed me innocent of the charges against me and given me permission to miss meetings.  Contrary to Jackson, council did not have to remove me.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“In May, Vukovic stated during a council meeting that she had been harassed by fellow council members and was called an “idiot, moron and psycho” at a special closed session.”

Ms. Vukovic was also called “a stupid old woman”, by bullies Ms. Jackson and Matt Jackson.  For disagreeing with the Mayor and the councillor.   Over a motion to add staff to the payroll at a cost of $300,000 per year to the taxpayers.  Which Ms. Ana Vukovic  considered unnecessary. Ana was bullied for considering the taxpayers.  Ana was bullied for properly representing the taxpayers.  Ana was bullied for doing what she was elected to do.

From the Langlois OSST article, Ms. Jackson’s comment about the May 1 bullying:

“However, Jackson said at the time that any words exchanged were outside of council meetings.“

It is true – the words were spoken outside of a formal council meeting.  But the words were spoken in council chambers.  Which is the workplace.   That made the nasty words “workplace harassment”.

And the May 1 words were also a breach of the council code of conduct (“no member will maliciously or falsely injure or impugn the professional or ethical reputation of any member of Council; every member has the duty and responsibility to treat .. one another appropriately and without abuse, bullying or intimidation; no member shall engage in any form of slanderous, malicious or demeaning communication in regard to other members of Council”).  Janice Jackson and Matt Jackson bullied, harassed, abused, slandered, demeaned, and all the rest.

Ms. Jackson’s response that the words were “exchanged outside of a formal council meeting” is typical J. Jackson spin/BS, and is an irrelevant distraction.

What is relevant is that J. Jackson did not deny that the nasty words were spoken.

What is relevant is that Ana filed a complaint against Janice Jackson and Matt Jackson under the Town’s harassment policy.

What is relevant is that J. Jackson did not deny Ms. Vukovic’s written allegations against her.

What is relevant is that an independent investigator is dealing with Ana’s complaint, with a report due, and with the Ministry of Labour watching.

That was the second complaint by Councillor Vukovic against Janice Jackson.  The first was, in Councillor Vukovic’s words: “in an email to me August 14, 2017 and also in the October 10, 2017 special closed meeting Mayor Jackson: 1) made false and hurtful claims that I leaked confidential information to a staff member, 2) falsely impugned my ethical reputation, 3) bullied me, and, 4) made vexatious comments to me that were unwelcome and were workplace harassment … in contravention of the council code of conduct”.

 Ms. Jackson buried that complaint.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“”Ana has voted against doing any beach maintenance whatsoever,” [Ms. Jackson] said.“

This is simply false.  And Ms. Jackson knows it is false.  Ana made a motion August 11, 2017 to do beach maintenance only with written permission from MNRF.  That’s nowhere near “Ana has voted against doing any beach maintenance whatsoever”.  Her motion was defeated by Ms. Jackson, Mr. Kirkland and councillor Jackson.

By ordering in the bulldozer, Ms. Jackson has breached the law, let the town take the blame, and made sure any consequences fall on the taxpayers, not on her.

From the Langlois OSST article:

“Jackson said as mayor, she has seized every opportunity to advance the town. South Bruce Peninsula is experiencing an unprecedented opportunity for growth, she said, and the town requires “a progressive, forward-thinking mayor who isn’t afraid to make tough decisions.””

A second charge was filed by MNRF against the town last week, for bulldozing the beach and damaging piping plover habitat in the fall of 2017.  Ms. Jackson’s decision to break the law regarding the beach at Sauble brought legal costs of $175,000 on the residents (so far) and put the residents of TSBP at risk of having to pay fines of up to $3,000,000.  And even more charges could follow.  Was that one of Ms. Jackson’s “tough decisions”?  Was that decision “progressive” and “forward-thinking”? I think not.  It was a reckless and dumb decision.

(The misguided nature of many of Ms. Jackson’s “tough decisions” will be the subject of a future post.)

A vote for Janice Jackson is a vote for more bullying of anyone who dares to disagree, and for chaos, incivility and a toxic environment.

A vote for Ana Vukovic is a vote for honesty, integrity, transparency and civility.  And a lot of experience and common sense.

 

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MNRF Lays Second Charge Against TSBP For Damaging Piping Plover Habitat (Craig’s 8-3)

In April 2016 Sauble Beach habitat of the endangered piping plover was extensively groomed by a company registered to Deputy Mayor Jay Kirkland under contract to the Town of South Bruce Peninsula.  Council did not authorize the grooming of habitat, and was not informed that the grooming would be done.  The grooming was clearly in violation of the applicable town policy.  No charges were laid.

In April 2017 Sauble Beach habitat of the endangered piping plover was again extensively groomed, this time by a numbered company under contract to the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, that numbered company being registered to James Ray Kirkland, brother of Deputy Mayor Jay Kirkland.  Council did not authorize the grooming of habitat, and was not informed that the grooming would be done.  The grooming was clearly in violation of the applicable town policy.

On March 21, 2018, following a nine month investigation, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry  charged the town with contravention of the Endangered Species Act, alleging that the April 2017 grooming damaged piping plover habitat.

In August and September 2017 plover habitat was again extensively groomed, this time including bulldozing of habitat, this time by town staff.  Council was warned beforehand that the grooming would be unlawful.  Once again, council did not authorize the grooming of habitat.

On July 25, 2018 the MNRF laid a second charge against the town, alleging that the August/ September 2017 grooming damaged habitat in contravention of the Act.

With the two charges, the town is facing up to $3,000,000 in fines if convicted.

And there could be more charges.

Because the taxpayers are already paying the Town’s hefty legal fees ($176,085 to date and increasing rapidly), and because any fines will be paid by taxpayers, it is incumbent upon the town to be open and transparent and honest about this matter.

Yet there has been no word from the town regarding the most recent charge. And the legal fees, which have not been authorized by council, are also being kept from the public.

Habitat is defined at Sauble Beach as 500 meters each way North and South of a nest, from Lakeshore Blvd. in the East to the edge of Lake Huron in the West.  An area that was habitat while a nest is present continues to be habitat for at least one year , and as many as five years, after the birds have left the nest.

The Endangered Species Act prohibits damage or destruction of piping plover habitat. Since November 2012 TSBP policy also clearly prohibits mechanical grooming of habitat.

Council has never authorized, by resolution, grooming of piping plover habitat.  Janice Jackson, Jay Kirkland and Matt Jackson were warned in the special council meeting of August 11, 2017 that what they were considering was illegal and could bring serious consequences.

There is indication that Janice Jackson, using authority she does not legitimately possess, sanctioned the grooming of plover habitat spring 2016, spring 2017, and fall 2017.  There is indication she had support from Jay Kirkland and Matt Jackson.

There is indication that Janice Jackson, using authority she does not legitimately possess, sanctioned the grooming of plover habitat spring 2016, spring 2017, and fall 2017.  There is indication she had support from Jay Kirkland and Matt Jackson.

Some residents are saying that Janice Jackson directed the impugned grooming and is trying to hide her brash actions and the consequences of her brash actions out of fear that public knowledge of her role in the affair and the charges and the legal costs will harm her re-election prospects.

Some say she is trying to hide her actions out of fear that she will be personally charged, or will be personally held accountable for the town’s contravention.

The town appears in court next on August 29, 2018 for an attempt at resolution (for example a guilty plea).  If the matter cannot be resolved, a trial date will be set.   Many are watching closely.

 

Craig Gammie

Squabble Beach

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Is the 2005 Sauble Area Small Water Systems Debacle Repeating Itself? (8-1)

Around 2005 there was a project to bring a bunch of Town of South Bruce Peninsula small municipal water supply systems into compliance with Ontario law.

The Ontario environmental assessment process was used to select, from a range of alternatives, what to do.

Brad McRoberts, then TSBP manager of public works, commissioned the environmental assessments on the Sauble area systems.

But instead of letting the process lead to a choice of what to do, an alternative was selected and the assessment was rigged to support that selection. The selection was to combine the many small systems into just four systems (Sauble school, Oliphant, Huron Woods, Foreman) and upgrade.

There were at least two ways that the process was prejudiced.

Firstly, the costs were averaged for the four small systems, making the cost per user of the Oliphant, Huron Woods and Foreman (Chesley Lake) systems appear to be much lower than they really were, and making the costs of the Sauble system look higher than it really was.   This averaging was done for both capital and ongoing operating costs.

This was an inappropriate thing to do.   I believe that if the costs of the four systems had been kept separate in the decision process, the Foreman, Huron Woods and Oliphant upgrades would have been considered too expensive and the alternative solution of residents installing private systems and getting off the municipal systems would have been chosen instead. I believe that if costs had been properly portrayed, the systems would never have been upgraded as they were, as the costs were simply not feasible.

Secondly, there was an end run around the environmental assessment process.  The environmental assessment process requires that an adequate number of alternative solutions be carefully considered to cover the full range of possibilities.   That full range should have included residents installing private systems and getting off the municipal systems completely.  But the private systems solution was never considered seriously, if at all.  This too shut out the private systems option.

In my view the private systems option was eliminated because it did not fit with the agenda of then mayor Carl Noble to eventually install a TSBP- wide (or larger) water system.  The private systems option was incompatible with what was then dubbed the “big pipe dream”.

With the two deceptions Mr. McRoberts and Mr. Noble managed to get approval for their solution, (amalgamate several Sauble area systems into four upgraded municipal systems).  The result was a set of four systems, but at a price.

Here’s from the sun times June 22, 2010:

“People who own properties on the Foreman, Amabel-Sauble, Oliphant and Huron Woods water systems in South Bruce Peninsula will soon receive notices informing them they each owe the town somewhere between $9,441.223 and $12,270.86.”

If my memory is correct, the final capital bill was more like $8000 per residence, but that is still very high.

And the ongoing costs were and are also very high.

And the Oliphant system has never worked properly, even though lots of general taxpayers’ money has been poured into it.

The town is putting on a consultation Friday, July 6, 2018 at the Amabel-Sauble Community School, 3:00 pm to begin to address the issue of high costs of the Sauble area municipal water systems.

Current TSBP Chief Administrative Officer Brad McRoberts, the very person that around 2005  shuffled the obvious low cost solution (private systems) right off the alternatives list, and who bears much of the responsibility for the current high capital costs and high operating costs systems, is now coordinating an effort to get the costs down.

The private systems solution was put before council in the current term.  But Mayor Janice Jackson kept putting up obstacles, mainly by saying that going to private systems would require prohibitively costly environmental assessment processes, (that cost per assessment being estimated by previous manager of public works as in the $200,000 plus range).

The Mayor is wrong.  She has characterized the process of switching to private systems as “fragmentation” (which would require an expensive environmental assessment).  But in fact the process of switching to private systems is not “fragmentation” at all, and would not require expensive environmental systems.

I hope I am wrong, but my concern is that the solution of going to private water supplies and shutting down some or all of the Sauble area systems will once again not be seriously considered, and through deception and false “facts” will be eliminated, or already has been eliminated as an alternative,  just like it was eliminated around 2005.

I believe that CAO McRoberts and Mayor Jackson and her council supporters have an agenda, that being either to use taxpayers’ money to get developers to build adjacent to the areas supplied by the Sauble school system and supply them with the Sauble school system, or to force all Sauble residents to abandon their private supplies and get on the Sauble school system, or both.   The latter of course will increase water costs for those currently on private systems to several hundred or even thousands of dollars per year.

And because the Ministry of the environment will be reluctant to move Sauble residents from their private systems to municipal water systems unless a municipal sewage system is also installed, Sauble residents could be looking at not only being forced to get onto a costly municipal water supply system, but also being forced to get onto a municipal sewers system, at a capital cost of $40,000 to $100,000 per residence, and additional high monthly costs.

All residents of TSBP, and especially Sauble residents, should be very concerned about where things could be heading.

I encourage all to attend the meeting Friday July 7 and watch very carefully for any attempt to deceive.

Please pass this on to other TSBP residents, especially Sauble Beach residents.

 

Craig

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Craig responds to allegations regarding legal costs

Dear xxxx:

I challenged you to provide evidence to back up your claim that I cost the taxpayers money. You provided none. So it’s not surprising that your information is wrong.

There were indeed costs “related to” my legal proceedings. But the costs were not “because of” my proceedings. And yes there is a difference.

Council banning me from town hall in 2013 is an excellent example.

When I was banned I immediately took the town to court, asking the court to strike down the banning resolution for illegality.

Council should never have banned me. And once served with my application to quash, the town could have and should have just rescinded the banning resolution. Not banning me in the first place or dropping the ban immediately, either way the costs to the town would have been zero.

But instead, incredibly, the council members dug in their heels and chose to fight me. And $150,000 of taxpayers’ money later the council realized that the ban was illegal and rescinded the resolution, an admission that it was illegal. Then a Superior Court judge found that the resolution was illegal, and said it would have been quashed had it not been rescinded.

Council had launched an illegal and unjustified attack on me, and when I stood up to the bullies they used taxpayers’ money to try to knock me down. Not their own money – taxpayer’s money.

Council is responsible and accountable for the costs to the taxpayer, not me.

There is a similar story for every one of the proceedings I was involved in. In every case council had a choice, and they chose badly, at great cost to the taxpayers. In every case council is both responsible and accountable for the costs.

My advice to you, xxxx , is this; The next time you hear unsupported injurious allegations about me (or about anybody else), do some fact-checking before you decide whether or not to pile on.

 

Craig Gammie

 

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Clerk’s Violation of Protection of Privacy Law Swept Under the Carpet

The Municipal Act has provisions designed to ensure that council conducts business in a manner that is open and transparent. Included is the requirement that council discussions must be open to the public unless they fall within exceptions listed in the Act.
On the Town of South Bruce Peninsula (“TSBP”) March 20, 2018 council agenda is a closed session item entitled MC15-41. The agenda claims that the matter qualifies to be in closed session because it meets two Municipal Act criteria, namely “litigation” and “solicitor-client privilege”.

I am familiar with the matter on the agenda and I am confident that the matter meets neither the “litigation” nor the “solicitor-client” criteria, and as such is not legally allowed in closed session. I am also confident that the matter is being discussed in closed to hide from the residents the July 16, 2015 illegal action of the town clerk Angie Cathrae that brought us to this point.

The situation should not be hidden from the residents. Accordingly I describe the situation.

On June 9, 2015 a resident, Dan Kerr, asked Clerk Cathrae for information regarding court matters that I was involved in. Ms. Cathrae knows or reasonably ought to know that the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“MFIPPA”) prohibits her from giving out my personal information without my permission. Yet that is exactly what she did. She gave out my personal information. I submit that the release of my personal information was not inadvertent, but was rather wilful and malicious.
The requesting resident, Dan Kerr, then used the information to slander me in emails sent broadly, including to the press. Even some press members slandered me, albeit apparently inadvertently.

I could have asked that Clerk Cathrae be charged under the provincial offences act. But Ms. Cathrae was at the time in control of the TSBP legal budget, and would have paid her legal costs and any fines out of that budget, forcing the taxpayers to pay and holding herself harmless. Instead of prosecuting, I went to the office of the Ontario Freedom Of Information And Protection Of Privacy Commissioner (“IPC”), complaining on July 16, 2015 that by disclosing my personal information Clerk Cathrae had violated MFIPPA section 48, and the TSBP had violated section 32. (Ms. Cathre racked up significant legal bills anyway, paid for by taxpayers.)

The IPC investigated and found that the town had indeed contravened section 32 of MFIPPA by releasing my personal information.

The full IPC report is at:

https://decisions.ipc.on.ca/ipc-cipvp/privacy/en/item/306604/index.do

The report summary reads as follows:

The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner/Ontario (IPC) received a privacy complaint from an individual involving the Town of South Bruce Peninsula (the town). The complainant was concerned that the town had improperly disclosed his personal information to another individual, without notice, in contravention of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act . This Report finds that the town’s disclosure of the complainant’s personal information was not in accordance with section 32 of the Act..

The report wording “the town’s disclosure .. was not in accordance with section 32 of the Act” is softspeak for “the town’s disclosure .. was in contravention of the Act”. The IPC report clearly found that release of my personal information was in contravention of MFIPPA.

But the IPC refused to investigate my allegation that Ms. Cathrae had contravened section 48.

Nevertheless, the finding that the town contravened section 32, combined with the fact that Clerk Cathrae acted for the town, is a finding, by implication, that Ms. Cathrea personally contravened MFIPPA section 48.

I submitted to the IPC that Ms. Cathrae’s violation of section 48 was wilful and malicious, and I stand by that submission.

Ms. Cathrae has been gunning for me ever since I exposed her manipulation of the minutes of the committee of the whole meeting of May 17, 2011 so as to make it look like I had violated the Professional Engineers Act, a manipulation by Ms. Cathrae that got me charged with seven counts of breach of that Act, and had me facing fines of over $150,000, and jail time too. (The charges were dropped after I exposed Ms. Cathrae’s wilful misrepresentations.)

The intensity of Ms. Cathrae’s animosity towards me is apparent in the audio recording of the September 20, 2016 council meeting, which is at:

http://saublesewer.devuna.com/Documents/20160920%20Council.wma

The agenda item starts at 1:47:00 on the audio recording. Ms. Cathrae’s tirade starts at 2:02:48.

In the September 20, 2016 council meeting I was accused of: 1) practicing law without a licence (contravening the Law Society Act), 2) breach of conflict of interest law, and 3) harassment of the clerk. I challenged my accusers to put their allegations before a competent adjudicator. They declined. But they put the allegation of practicing law without a licence before the Law Society of Upper Canada, which is not an adjudicator, but which nonetheless found that I did not breach the Law Society Act. Details of that fiasco are at:

https://craiggammieblog.com/2017/09/18/yet-another-allegation-against-councillor-gammie-practicing-law-without-a-licence-exposed-as-a-vexatious-malicious-baseless-lie/

The IPC cover-up

My complaint to the IPC was lodged July 16, 2015.

About October 2016 IPC investigator Natalie Rioux indicated to me that she had completed her investigation and that she had found that Clerk Cathrae had breached MFIPPA. Ms. Rioux indicated that she planned on releasing her report before the end of 2016.

The expected release date was missed. I called Ms. Rioux several times after December 31, 2016 asking when the report would be issued, always getting a reply of “soon”.

When Ms. Rioux and I chatted on September 15, 2017 Ms. Rioux told me that the IPC had received a call from Mayor Janice Jackson in December 2016 regarding the investigation.

A draft report was issued by Ms. Rioux to the parties on September 29, 2017, (9 months after the end-of-2016 expectation). There was not even a hint in the draft report that my allegation that Clerk Cathrae had violated section 48 had been heard, acknowledged, investigated, considered, decided, or anything else. My complaint that the clerk had contravened section 48 was completely sanitized out.

In an October 11, 2017 letter to Ms. Rioux I vigorously protested the sanitization.
The final report, issued February 22, 2018, more than 31 months after my complaint was lodged, spoke to my protest (that my allegation that Clerk Cathrae had breached section 48 was conspicuously missing).

In Ms. Rioux’s report paragraph 45 my protest was acknowledged. Then in paragraph 46 Ms. Rioux said:

[MFIPPA section 48(1)(a)] requires the consent of the Attorney General to commence a prosecution.

That is false. Section 48(3) of MFIPPA makes clear that only sections 48(1) (d), (e) or (f) require consent of the Attorney General, and makes clear that prosecution under section 48(1)(a) does not require consent of the Attorney General. (Did they really think I wouldn’t check?)

Also Ms. Rioux’s statement is irrelevant because I did not request commencement of a prosecution, and I made very clear to Ms. Rioux at the outset that I had chosen not to proceed along the prosecution route.

Ms. Rioux also said:

This investigation is not an appropriate forum to consider whether a person has committed an offence under the Act and the IPC has no jurisdiction to conduct a trial of a provincial offence. That jurisdiction is with the Ontario Court of Justice, and I therefore decline to make a finding on this issue.

The flaw in this rationalization is that the IPC could have applied the same “reasoning” to the issue of whether section 32 was breached, but clearly did not. Also I did not request a “trial of a provincial offence” or any trial.

The IPC rationale for not investing my allegation that Ms. Cathrae breached section 48(1)(a) is patently absurd.

The evidence before me includes:

1) the report that mayor Janice Jackson called the IPC in December 16 about the matter,
2) the sanitization of section 48 from the September 29, 2017 draft report,
3) the extreme delay in producing the final report, and
4) the absurd and groundless rationalization in the final February 22, 2018 IPC report for not investigating or finding on my allegation that Ms. Cathrae had breached MFIPPA section 48,

Given that compelling (albeit circumstantial) evidence the only conclusion that I can reach is that there must have been political interference brought to bear in order to protect Ms. Cathrae.

I believe that the IPC act of sanitizing out and then circumventing my allegation that Ms. Cathrae contravened section 48 was a cover-up.

Is a council cover-up under way?

I further submit that the plan to hold the TSBP council discussion of the IPC report on March 20, 2018 in closed session, out of sight of the residents, shielded from scrutiny, and immune to criticism, is nothing less than a council execution of another cover-up.

I expect that in closed session a majority of council will declare by resolution:

1) that Ms. Cathrae was accused of breach of MFIPPA,
2) that the IPC investigated the allegation,
3) that the IPC did not find that Ms. Cathrae breached MFIPPA, and,
4) that therefore Ms. Cathrae is vindicated.

But if it stays in closed session we will never know, will we?

Bullying of those who in good faith criticize a staff member or a council member is becoming all too common. It is my hope that residents will expose the bullying, and stand up to the bullies.

 

Craig Gammie, Councillor-in-Exile

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Letter to MNRF Minister Des Rosiers Exposing Janice Jackson’s Slight-Of-Hand Deceit, Shoddy Research, and Unsupportable Claims Regarding Maintenance of the Beach at Sauble

March 15, 2018
Hon. Nathalie Des Rosiers
Whitney Block 6th Flr Rm 6630,
99 Wellesley St W, Toronto, ON M7A 1W3
minister.mnrf@ontario.ca

Dear Minister Des Rosiers:

Because of recovery programs and statutes like the Ontario Endangered Species Act (“ESA”), populations of Piping Plovers, tiny birds on the endangered species list, are slowly recovering. Protection of plovers and their habitat at Sauble Beach, where the birds have been nesting for about the past 11 years, is a key component of the recovery plan.

A recent email campaign directed to you, and a March 6, 2018 letter to you from MPP Bill Walker encourage you to allow serious grooming of plover habitat at Sauble Beach, in effect encouraging you to reduce the protection.

The emails and the letter from Mr. Walker are the result of requests for support made by Town of South Bruce Peninsula (“TSBP”) mayor Janice Jackson, who is leading the drive to what I submit is damage or destruction of habitat.

I am of the belief that any backing off of recovery programs or dilution of the statutes or reduction in enforcement of the statues could result in the recovery faltering or even failing. The little birds are still in peril and need all the protection they can get from the MNRF and the ESA (and anyone else).

I urge you to say no to Ms. Jackson’s proposal to groom habitat in a way that is in my view and in the view of many others damaging.

My specific concerns about Ms. Jackson’s letter to MPP Bill Walker and about Mr. Walker’s March 6th letter to you and about Ms. Jackson’s facebook request that residents email you include:

1. Fraudulent portray of Ms. Jackson’s position as the town position
2. Ms. Jackson’s great deceit – the Jackson definition of plover “habitat”
3. Ms. Jackson’s second deceit – “scientific research”
4. Impact of plover protection on economy
5. The inappropriate political ultimatum

These I discuss in turn:

1. Fraudulent portrayal of Ms. Jackson’s position as the town position.

Ms. Jackson’s March 5th letter to Mr. Walker appears to be a position of the Town of South Bruce Peninsula. It is not. The Mayor has no authority to take a position on behalf of the town or the council or to present such position on town letterhead unless that specific position is formally authorized by by-law by council. The March 5th letter to Bill Walker was not approved by council. The publication on town letterhead is contrary to the towns bylaws. The letter to Mr. Walker is Ms. Jackson’s personal view, and sending it on town letterhead is fraudulent.

The town position, which is the council position, is in its beach Maintenance policy PW 12.1, adopted by by-law 62-2015, which very clearly does not allow raking, tilling, bulldozing or any other mechanical alteration of plover habitat, without the clear consent of the MNRF. Such consent has been requested every year since 2011, and has been consistently denied on the basis that the proposed alteration would in the view of MNRF staff be a contravention of the ESA.

2. the first great deceit – Janice Jackson’s definition of plover “habitat”

Habitat is defined by the ESA, abridged for context, as:

“habitat” means,
(a) …….., or
(b) with respect to any other species of animal, plant or other organism, an area on which the species depends, directly or indirectly, to carry on its life processes, including life processes such as reproduction, rearing, hibernation, migration or feeding, and includes places in the area described in clause (a) or (b), whichever is applicable, that are used by members of the species as dens, nests, hibernacula or other residences;

MNR staff have more specifically defined Piping Plover habitat at Sauble Beach as 500 meters north and south of any spot where there has been a nest in the last five years.

The ESA section 10 prohibits damage or destruction of habitat as so defined.

TSBP policy since 2012 is even tighter and prohibits mechanical grooming of habitat without consent, whether or not it is has been demonstrated or argued to be damaging.

Over the past several years someone has directed maintenance of plover habitat (as defined in the ESR) at the beach at Sauble, which has included raking, harrowing, and even bulldozing. It is clear that Ms. Jackson directed the grooming in 2017. In no case did the town or council alter, damage or destroy habitat or direct, coordinate or acquiesce to such activity. Ms. Jackson has vocally promised to groom what is clearly habitat again in 2018. The press has carried pictures of her on the beach observing (or even directing) the bulldozing.

Incredibly, Ms. Jackson keeps saying “we” have not raked habitat and “we” will not rake habitat.

But Ms. Jackson’s claim is a lie and a deliberate deceit.

Here’s how the deceit works.

Ms. Jackson conveniently uses a definition of plover “habitat” that is much narrower than the ESA definition. She implicitly claims that an area is habitat only while the birds are present and actually using a nest, and she uses a habitat criterion far lower than the 500 meter radius used by the MNRF.

When Ms. Jackson says “I have not raked, disked or groomed or bulldozed habitat” (or “we have not raked etc. habitat”), she mean that she has not altered habitat as she defines habitat. She is not saying that habitat as defined by the ESA and MNRF has not been altered.

Similarly when Ms. Jackson says she will not damage habitat, she means that she will not damage habitat as she defines habitat. She is not saying that she will not damage habitat as the ESA and MNRF define habitat.

Similarly, when Ms. Jackson says “I (or we) will not breach the TSBP Policy”, she means she will not breach policy according to her definition of “habitat”.

She has deceived many people into believing that she just wants to and only intends to rake, disc, and bulldoze those parts of the beach that are not plover habitat. And she encouraged those so deceived to write to you imploring you to support, condone, or permit her illegal grooming.

She also appears to have deceived MPP Bill Walker (see March 5, 2018 letter to Bill Walker) into believing that she only wanted to groom what is not habitat, and I understand that Mr. Walker has jumped on her bandwagon and has encouraged, (albeit inadvertently) a program and plan that would include grooming of and damage to habitat as defined by the ESA and MNRF.

Mr. Walker in his March 6, 2018 letter to you, indicated:

[The community’s] plan is to rake the weeds outside the piping plover habitat before the piping plovers return and establish nests for the season, as this would ensure. ]

As indicated above, it is Ms. Jackson’s plan that Mr. Walker is pushing, not the “community’s” plan.

More important, contrary to Mr. Walker, Ms. Jackson’s plan is not to rake outside the piping plover habitat, but is in contrast to rake (and harrow, and bulldoze) actual piping plover habitat.

Contrary to Mr. Walker, Ms. Jackson’s plan will not ensure that “the Town stays in compliance with the endangered Species act”, but will instead ensure that the ESA (and the town policy) is contravened.

The passage in Mr. Walker’s March 6, 2018 letter demonstrates how effectively Ms. Jackson has pulled off the habitat definition deception.

It is indeed a clever and interesting deceit that Ms. Jackson has visited upon everyone she could reach, but so that the recovery program at Sauble does not falter, the deceit must fail.

3. Janice Jackson’s 2nd great deceit – “scientific research”

In her letter of March 5, 2018 to Bill Walker, Ms. Jackson claimed:

“we believe our efforts are supported by scientific literature which supports our position that the piping plover prefer sand flats with little or no vegetation”

Ms. Jackson doesn’t say what the preference is referred to, but from her other documents I assume she means that her “scientific research” shows that the plovers prefer pristine sand flats with little or no vegetation over a natural beach.

Seven of the eight citations that Ms. Jackson uses to support her claim that Plovers prefer “sand flats with little or no vegetation” over natural beach are not even close to scientific research. They are fact sheets.

In my view none of the seven citations (the fact sheets) supports Ms. Jackson’s claim.

Ms. Jackson’s eighth reference is improperly cited, the citation website clearly unusable, but I believe it is Environment Canada’s 2012 published recovery strategy, or an excerpt from the same. If I am correct, it too is not actual scientific research, but it is a real review of actual scientific research, and as such is of value.

The Environment Canada report says:

Plovers rarely nest in areas of pure sand, but instead select sandy areas with sparse vegetation or sufficient gravel, pebble, cobble, shell fragments, wrack (dry algae normally deposited by storms or by tidal or wave action above the mean high tide mark), or other debris to provide camouflage for incubating birds and to enable nests to be hidden from predators (Flemming et al. 1992).

The cited paper (Flemming et al. 1992) is abstracted as:

We examined piping plover (Charadrius melodus) nest site selection in eastern New Brunswick (1988-89) and northern and southern Nova Scotia (1983, 1987) because little quantitative information on nest site selection was available. Nest site characteristics varied among the 3 study areas with respect to the number of shoots of beach grass (Ammophila breviligulata), pebbles, stones, and shells in the vicinity of nests (P = 0.001-0.003). Compared with randomly chosen sites, piping plover nest sites in eastern New Brunswick had more (P = 0.001-0.003) pebbles, stones, rocks, and shells; whereas, in northern Nova Scotia, nest sites had more (P = 0.054-0.001) shoots of beach grass, pebbles, stones, rocks, and sticks. Nests in southern Nova Scotia had a greater (P = 0.001) number of beach grass shoots than random sites. Despite these differences, all study areas had gravel, grass, and mixed gravel and grass nest types.. Management to improve or create nesting habitat must anticipate geographical variation in the choice of nest site characteristics and should be designed and implemented based on data from the population of birds under consideration.

I have not yet reviewed the Flemming paper, so I base my analysis on the abstract. The Flemming abstract does not support Ms. Jackson’s claim. In fact it could be argued that the Flemming et.al. statement: “Grass nesting in southern Nova Scotia may have been a response to increased avian predation on plover eggs” directly refutes Ms. Jackson’s claim.

Further, Flemming et.al. are clear that data and conclusions from their study may not be applicable in other areas.

Ms. Jackson’s so-called “scientific research” was conducted by someone with little or no competence to conduct scientific research or to conduct a review of actual scientific research. Ms. Jackson’s “research” is amateurish and shoddy. Ms. Jackson’s conclusions do not follow from her research. No weight should be given to Ms. Jackson’s “scientific research” or to her conclusions.

4. Impact of plover protection on economy

Mr. Walker’s March 6 letter to you incorporates Ms. Jackson’s comments to Mr. Walker in her March 5th letter, and also Ms. Jackson’s oral comments to Mr. Walker’s office, and also comments that have been made by Ms. Jackson in the press and on facebook.

I consider some of Ms. Jackson’s claims.

On facebook Ms. Jackson said the economy of Sauble is 100% tourism. That is simply false.

Ms. Jackson has indicated that the economy will suffer appreciably if the beached is not made flat and sterile except for “little or no vegetation”. This is false and unsupportable, and is fear mongering.

Ms. Jackson said (March 5th): “the local economy is 100% driven by the attraction of Sauble Beach as a recreational beach.” Even that is false. Much of the economy of Sauble Beach is not dependent on how extensively the beach is groomed. The fall, winter, and spring economies are almost entirely independent of how extensively the beach is groomed.

I note that Janice Jackson has no credentials or expertise in economics.

5. political threat

Mr. Walker, in his March 6th letter indicated:

I am aware that the note about 3000 cottage owners came from Ms. Jackson.

Contrary to Ms. Jackson (and Mr. Walker) there are not 3000 GTA residents owning properties at Sauble beach. I believe the number is less than a third of that, possible a lot less.

Furthermore, where Sauble cottage owners have their permanent residence is irrelevant to whether they support or should support beach grooming.

I must conclude, as have others, that by throwing around the 3000 GTA residents statistic Ms. Jackson is making a political ultimatum in the run up to both municipal (October 2018) and provincial (July 2018) elections. There is in my view no other plausible purpose in the “3000” comment.

Because Ms. Jackson is such a clever rewriter of the facts I do not fault those reportedly hundreds of people that failed to see through Ms. Janice’s slight-of-hand deceit, shoddy research, and unsupported claims.

Minister I plead for you to respond to the hundreds of deceived emailers and anyone who even inadvertently supports Ms. Jackson’s planned breach of the law and breach of the TSBP beach maintenance policy, indicating that:

1) whether they realize it or not, Mr. Walker and those hundreds who emailed you have been duped into proposing that plover habitat be damaged, contrary to the ESA, contrary to TSBP policy, and contrary to common sense;

2) Ms. Jackson is really proposing to damage plover habitat, contrary to the act and contrary to TSBP policy;

3) The MNRF is already investigating whether Ms. Jackson or someone has already damaged habitat;

4) any habitat damaging actions will not be tolerated.

Craig Gammie
Sauble Beach
cgammie@rogers.com
519 422 3599

Janice Jackson March 5 2018 to MPP Bill Walker re beach maintenance

MPP Walker to Des Rosiers March 6 2018 re beach maintenance

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