The following story contains personal opinions which are not necessarily shared by the Cortes Radio Board, staff, volunteers or membership.
On October 30, 2019, the Strathcona Regional District published notice, the Tideline, that they had censured Cortes Island’s Regional Director. Noba Anderson is accused of releasing information which very few – if any – of us have ever seen. I have seen and reported on a heavily redacted copy of one of these documents, which you can find on the SRD website, but Chief Administrative Officer David Leitch emphatically told me that was not what they were talking about. The SRD will not state who Director Anderson is alleged to have shown these secret documents to, or how they found out about it. Mr Leitch asked me to “please respect that the Directors cannot speak any further to the details of the concluded censure process and that future emails containing speculative questions looking for answers cannot be responded to.” Last night I obtained Noba Anderson’s response to the SRD censure, which she has also published on the Tideline.
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.
Exploring Legal Options
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:
- I do not agree with the allegations contained in the censure resolution;
- I did not release confidential or privileged information to the public (or you would certainly have heard about it); and
- 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.
How Can Noba Continue?
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
Top image credit: 2018 Strathcona Regional District board meeting: left to right Directors – Noba Anderson, Charlie Cornfield, Gerald Whalley & Ron Kerr.