Electoral Service Committee Did Not Acknowledge Cortes Island’s Grant-In-Aid Applications

By Roy L Hales

An item is missing from the May 8 minutes of the Strathcona Regional District Board’s Electoral Service Committee. There is no reference to Cortes Island’s Grant-In-Aid Applications, though they were on the agenda. This was the result of a conscious decision made by three of the four Regional Directors (Jim Abram, Brenda Leigh & Gerald Whalley). The Electoral Service Committee did not acknowledge Cortes Island’s Grant in Aid Applications.

What Could Happen?

This means the applications will not pass on to the SRD Board for consideration. 

At the meeting Cortes Island Director Noba Anderson said, “This is highly unusual. I’ve not known this to happen in ten years. We passed a [Cortes] electoral Grant In Aid just two weeks ago. This committee requested that it go to the board without a recommendation. So to do nothing here is highly, highly unusual and I will be bringing something to the board. Then we will have a bigger more awkward discussion there.”

She was not the only director who mentioned the possibility of bringing this matter back at the board level. As our conversation was not intended to be an interview, I am not going to name the other board member who mentioned this.

Should Director Director Anderson bring the Grants In Aid up now? Or wait until after the court case that fourteen Cortes residents brought against her is decided?

The Electoral Service Committee appears to want Director Anderson’s case settled before they proceed.

The Lawsuit

The hearing is now scheduled for the week of June 10 to 17.

This lawsuit has taken another peculiar twist. It appears the cornerstone of the plaintiff’s suit is a document they have never seen. According to the affidavit of Richard Boas, the Strathcona Regional District hired Craig Peterson to investigate “the possible conflict of interest concerns raised by the community as regards Noba Anderson.” Mr Boas did not mention which members of the community raised these concerns, or how his group happened to know about this, but states, “the Peterson Report is crucial to [their lawyer Harry] Wenngatz being able to present a complete and informed submission to the court.” Mr Boas also mentioned that they believed there was time to consider whether they should withdraw their suit, but the petitioners are now being dragged into court. (See affidavit pages one, two & three.)

Given the importance the petitioners now claim the Craig Peterson Report has to their case, it is curious that they did not file a Freedom of Information request earlier.  I filed a FOI request for this document almost two months ago, on March 19. The plaintiffs waited until April 30, 2019

Co-incidentally, this happens to two days after I published a list of the legal petition’s numerous factual errors on Cortes Currents.

Top photo credit: Bay on Cortes Island by Keira McPhee via Flickr (CC BY SA, 2.0 License)

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