The OSST August 20 article “South Bruce Peninsula Council Critic Not Allowed At Municipal Meetings” was fair and reasonably unbiased, but it missed some key information.
On November 20, 2012 I was banned from town hall. On November 28th I applied to the court to quash the ban. On May 23rd Judge Conlan recommended I abandon my application in favour of an out-of-court discussion process in which the town would decide whether to keep the resolution as is, or drop the resolution, or “vary” the resolution somewhere between “drop” and “keep”. I consented on the conditions that the ban be mostly lifted during the discussions, and that council hear my submissions by the end of July, and that council provide a written decision with reasons within 30 days of my oral submission, and that if I did not like the council decision or council’s reasons for its decision, I could bring the matter right back to court and once again ask the court to quash.
Council heard my submissions, and council varied the resolution, but instead of varying between “drop” and “keep as is”, council expanded and extended the ban.
I applied to the court again to have the resolution quashed.
On August 20 administrator Jacquie Farrow-Lawrence handed me a report that gave the decision to ban me and “reasons” for the decision. The report is on my website at craiggammie.com.
But council did not see the report, and so could not have vetted or approved or “provided”, as was required by the court order of May 23rd, the “reasons”. Council breached the court order.
Because the reasons are almost verbatim from John Close’s sworn affidavits of December 18 and December 20, which were not shared with council, I know that the “reasons” are not council’s but are, rather, John Close’s.
The reasons that John Close provided for banning me were:
1. That I secretly and intentionally recorded two closed sessions,
2. That I exhibited a pattern of questionable behavior, and,
3. That I failed to demonstrate remorse for my questionable behavior and that I failed to understand “why [my] past behavior has been questionable”.
The first allegation (secretly and intentionally recorded) is false. There is clear and ample evidence that both recordings were accidental rather than intentional. I never even had possession of the recordings. And on July 24th I resolved the problem of accidental recordings by committing not to ever bring a recorder to any council meeting.
The second allegation (questionable behavior) is too nebulous to have any meaning, but in its implied meaning of unlawful or even bad behavior is false.
John Close’s examples of my “questionable behavior” include these allegations: bringing offensive and defamatory signs into council chambers; threatening Mike McMillan (twice); criminally assaulting Mark Wunderlich; intimidating and harassing staff; and, threatening the Clerk. Not included in the August 20 “examples”, but included in his affidavit of December 20 and also in his e-mails and witness statements, is the very serious allegation that I have been practicing engineering without a license.
The August 20 allegations and the engineering-without-a-license allegation are false, and are unsupportable, and have not been “questioned” in any legitimate court, and are unproven in any court, and have not been proven anywhere else. (My rebuttals to all of John Close’s false allegations are in my submission to the court of February 7, which is on my website.)
All of John Close’s “questionable behavior” allegations are malicious and vexations, made not for any proper purpose (such as preventing accidental recordings), but rather to complement John Close’s campaign to stop me (and by example others) from participating in our democratic public policy process, and to stop me (and others) from criticizing his actions.
John Close’s reason number three for banning me (I failed to show remorse) is just plain absurd. Real judges may consider remorse during a sentencing phase, after (and only after) the accused has been properly and fairly tried, and has been found guilty. No sensible person expects an accused person to feel remorse for any act that they have not committed and for any act for which there is no charge and no finding of guilt. The accusations against me are no more than allegations. No court of competent jurisdiction has even considered whether I have committed any offense.
John Close’s inclusion of “demonstrated no remorse or understanding” makes it clear that he believes that he, as mayor, is the supreme, competent, omniscient, omnipotent, infallible, and fully authorized judge of all things in TSBP (and everywhere else).
“Mayor Supreme” is delusional. “Mayor Supreme” is unfit for office.
And in banning me, Mayor Supreme has already cost the taxpayers about $20,000 in legal fees, and will cost in my estimate at least another $25,000.
John Close’s campaign has not just been against me. He has also made false allegations against John Schnurr, Rick Lyttle, and Orma Lyttle, and against three as yet unidentified bloggers (via what was ostensibly Rhonda Cook’s $700,000 lawsuit), and against committee members who dared to speak up, and against many others.
So far John Close’s campaign against me has been a very serious inconvenience, but the harm to me has been small compared to the damages to others, many of whose physical and financial health have suffered.
And the general taxpayers have suffered. In my estimate, much of the 2012 legal budget excess ($120,000) and much of the 2013 budget increase ($400,000) are for improper contributions to John Close’s personal campaign against his perceived opponents.
In his press releases and interviews of February 4 and May 24, 2011 John Close alleged that his opponents were “criminals”, and vowed to bring them to justice. The allegations were unfounded, but the vow remained.
It has to stop. It is not fair to the taxpayers. And it is not right.