General News · 15th November 2019
Noba Anderson - Regional Dir.
Dear Cortes friends and neighbours
It has indeed been a strange ride at the Regional District this past year. As you know, a couple weeks ago, we saw another chapter in this twisted story when I was censured and sanctioned by the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board for “revealing confidential and privileged information... contrary to the Community Charter and the Director Code of Conduct Bylaw 2018.” The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘censure’ as ‘a judgment involving condemnation’ or ‘the act of blaming or condemning sternly’ or ‘an official reprimand.’ I’d also like you to know that the jurisprudence around ‘censure’ clearly states that ‘censure’ is to be reserved for particularly egregious transgressions.
The trick with this allegation is that the Regional District Board holds all the cards about what information (or what part of the story) it decides to release to you and when.
I am currently exploring my legal options, and together with legal counsel am crafting my formal response. Given that much remains in camera (secrete/private/not-to-be-disclosed information), at this time I am limited in what I can say.
However, I can say that:
1. I do not agree with the allegations contained in the censure resolution;
2. I did not release confidential or privileged information to the public (or you would certainly have heard about it); and
3. I take great exception to other Board decisions and practices which remain in-camera.
I can also say that I truly hope that all the information about this long and strange affair between me, the SRD and a few of my constituents, is eventually released to the public. I have nothing to hide and want the truth to be revealed.
As to your questions about how the censure will affect my ability to serve as your elected representative. In short, it won’t. I still sit at the Strathcona Regional District Board, the Hospital Board, the Solid Waste Board and the Electoral Area Services Committee. I still have every right and responsibility to do my job serving Cortes and the region, and I will continue to advance your interests before the Board. What this is, is an attempt at public shaming... and I am not shamed!
The District has said that they will not appoint me to future committees or public hearings in other rural areas; although I would submit that fettering a future Board's ability to make a decision is unlawful. When all these frivolous allegations began rolling in a year ago, I was removed from (or technically not re-appointed to) the First Nations Relations Committee. Given the actions of the Board at the time, I foresaw that sanctions against me were likely, and so I phased myself off the one committee on which I still remained - the Strathcona Community Health Network - and transitioned my Co-Chair role to another member. So, there is nothing to remove me from, and if they do not want my attendance at public hearings that has always been the prerogative of the Board.
In times like these, I am sure grateful to live in a society with a fair and open judicial system where citizens can seek justice. I offer great gratitude to my legal team, as without them, this would be a lonely road. I am also deeply grateful to so many of you who, knowing my character, have supported me throughout this absurd journey. May all the relevant truth come out and may sanity prevail.
In deep gratitude for living where we do.
Regional Director, Cortes Island
it's all very puzzling
Comment by De Clarke on 16th November 2019
I find it baffling that this censure motion was formally announced just after the solidly positive Yes vote on the Hall Tax Service. That vote - it seemed to me - should have been a healthy reality check that corrected any misapprehensions SRD might have been suffering from; it should have confirmed for them that our Director has been simply truthful (for years) in telling them that there was majority support both for a referendum and for the tax service.
It should have confirmed that our Director has done and is doing her job in good faith, i.e. bringing the majority will of her community to the table. It should have confirmed that the manipulation of their Board process (by covert lobbying etc) which inflicted so much cost, delay and frustration on us all, was coming from an intensely oppositional minority bloc and not some imaginary "silent majority."
So I was expecting, perhaps naively, that this reality check would have made SRD re-visit or question some of their proceedings and attitudes. I expected them at least to reconsider their credulous acceptance of the slipshod litigation attempt of Jan 2019, and see it for what (I believe) it was: a last-ditch partisan effort by extremist anti-taxers to derail the referendum process. I thought they might realise that their Board had been successfully gamed by an amateur "black op". I thought they might say "Oops" - maybe even apologise to our Director and our community - wipe egg off face, and move on in a better spirit.
Yup, I thought the 75% Yes result on the tax service referendum might be the end of this circus.
But apparently not. SRD seems to be doubling down on their strategy of marginalising our Area and our Director. I'm mystified, but very glad at this point to hear that legal counsel is in the picture.
The veil of "in camera" secrecy prevents anyone from knowing whether any actual laws or government policies have been broken by SRD in the course of this long strange story, but (as recent articles in Currents will show), I can't shake a growing sense of unease: seems like something has gone badly wrong with the process over there. It doesn't smell like good governance.
Since there is effectively no "upstairs" to a regional district board, litigation may - unfortunately - be the only way we can ever understand or resolve their peculiar conduct of our business over the last couple of years. Let's hope there is some democratic sunlight at the end of this tunnel.
Thank you Noba
Comment by Caz on 16th November 2019
Noba I am in awe of your strength and willingness to keep on “carrying on” no mater how much shit is thrown at you. I’m with you all the way.👍
Comment by Tamias on 16th November 2019
I did find it odd that no one had actually seen the "information" that you'd supposedly "publicly released."
May sanity prevail, and may the people who are inexplicably attacking you find healthier outlets for their emotions.