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General News · 22nd November 2019
SRD Elaine Popove

November 22, 2019 - SRD Board Decides to Not Indemnify Director Anderson

Campbell River, B.C. – The Strathcona Regional District (SRD) Board released its decision at the Inaugural Board meeting on November 6th to not indemnify Electoral Area B Director Noba Anderson.

Director Anderson’s costs incurred to defend against the petition filed by a number of Cortes Island electors seeking her disqualification for conflict of interest, will not be covered by the SRD.

Indemnification (as per the Local Government Act), is to pay the amounts required to defend against a claim, action or prosecution brought against an elected official.

Generally speaking, local governments have a responsibility to indemnify their elected officials against legal actions arising from performance of their duties of office. It also has the authority to deny indemnification when elected officials have failed to comply with the Board's indemnification bylaw or have acted in contravention of the conflict of interest rules applicable to local government officials through their Oath of Office, SRD Code of Conduct bylaw and/or Local Government Act.

“No Board likes to have to go through this type of process especially when it deals with one of its own members. We recognize the impact this has had on Director Anderson, members of the Board and staff and the residents of Cortes Island” says Strathcona Regional District Chair Michele Babchuk. “Its been a tough year with processes and challenges that this Board has never dealt with before, and this was not an easy decision for the Board. We look forward to putting this behind us and serving all the constituents of the SRD.”

The Board understands from the Nov 18 Campbell River Mirror article, that Director Anderson is considering her legal options on this issue. We would like to respect her right to any further legal process and will not comment or add any more detail at this time.

The Strathcona Regional District Board is cognizant of the role of governance and strives to uphold the rules of confidentiality.

The Strathcona Regional District is a partnership of four electoral areas and five municipalities providing services to approximately 44,000 residents.

Media contact:
Tom Yates, Corporate Services Manager
Strathcona Regional District
Shifty Business
Comment by Cesca Zamboni on 30th November 2019
Thanks to Gabriel for articulating my own concerns so eloquently. We cannot let this go; something is terribly fishy in SRD deliberations and processes.
Good call Wayne
Comment by Stephen Reid on 23rd November 2019
I agree with the idea of a high profile media exposee!
We are clearly spinning our wheels here. If Director Anderson is corrupt or deserving of all the allegations, I wanna know! And on the other hand, if democracy is being terrorized by a rogue pod of extremists, let the spotlight shine on them. It would make great tv. One thing is obvious - that a mockery is being made of our local politics. It seems much easier to create chaos than to create order.
CBC go public
Comment by Wayne roberts on 23rd November 2019
I think they would be interested in this story. I wrote them, but could someone with better grasp of the issue contact them as well? This would be of interest to small communities across the country.
Comment by Blanca on 23rd November 2019
They should be ashamed of themselves.
perfectly stranger and stranger
Comment by De Clarke on 23rd November 2019

This refusal to indemnify made the local paper on June 19th. "The SRD letter was dated May 10, 2019, a month before the case was concluded locally in B.C. Supreme Court. On June 10, lawyers for both parties made a joint submission conceding there was no conflict of interest. The petitioners’ lawyer said little about the situation but did mention his clients had been influenced by others to launch the case."

So it looks like
(a) SRD Board decided *well before* the court case was over, that they were not going to indemnify our Director...
(b) even after the vexatious litigation was abandoned in court - and the petitioners' lawyer said on record that his clients had been used as catspaws [my words not his] by unspecified other persons! - they did not revisit this decision...
(c) they chose to announce it now with public hoopla, over six months later.

Once again, I'm puzzled. The timing of these announcements is so peculiar. Are we supposed to assume that the decision not to indemnify is somehow a consequence of the vote to censure Anderson... even though the decision not to indemnify clearly *precedes* that censure vote by several months? Surely our memories are not that short.

So I can't help wondering,
a) what is the relationship (and the timeline) between the petitioners, the unknown person or persons who "influenced" and "misled" them into that vexatious litigation, and SRD?
b) why was a private detective hired by SRD to "investigate the charges against" Anderson (almost certainly) *before* the petition to litigate was public knowledge on Jan 2?
c) what is the connection between that specious "conflict of interest" litigation and these recent allegations of revealing in-camera information?

Ms Babchuk is profoundly mistaken: "putting all this behind us," i.e. moving on with zero explanation of the bizarre events of the last 2 years, is *not* "serving all the constituents of the SRD." It is serving only the tiny handful of anti-tax extremists who have caused all this trouble (at significant cost to the taxpayer, I might add). The rest of us want some sunlight, some transparency, better governance.
Let me Explain
Comment by Gorge Harbour Marina Bill on 23rd November 2019
SRD refuses to idemnify Noba .

12 local folks attempt to sue our elected rep for accepting monies to rebuild her fathers cabin .
Noba hires a lawyer
When it gets to court the 12 folks suing get up and admit there is no case at all and drop the case
Noba left with big bill
SRD refuses to pay
12 folks suing don’t even apologize for wrongful actions

There it is plain and simple
write to the SRD directors
Comment by Gabriel Dinim on 23rd November 2019
I urge you to write to each SRD director and express your outrage.
With the kind of internal politics Noba was subjected to, no one can serve the interest of their community feeling secure that their contribution will be respected as the will of their constituents and everyone will be at the mercy of internecine politics from directors who are long past their best before date.
SRD hypocrisy
Comment by Gabriel Dinim on 23rd November 2019
I sent this letter to the SRD

To the SRD

I am outraged at the hypocritical nature and false sentiment of your communication regarding director Anderson.

It is obvious that Director Anderson and the resident of Cortes Island has been at the receiving end of a concerted unfounded series of attacks by certain Directors.

To state that this has been a difficult year for the SDRD is patently ridiculous, this has been a difficult year for Director Anderson, her family, her friends and her constituents.

I am revolted at the antidemocratic secrecy of this entire process and the self serving self pity of Directors who claim that they have had a hard time of it, when they are responsible for this pathetic sate of affair by hindering the democratic process on Cortes Island.

I am disgusted.

Gabriel Dinim