March 28, 2023
- Mayor’s apology – misleading narrative?
- School District suprises tenants
- Mini-documentary screening, win tickets!
- MP Gord Johns – parliamentary exchange marred
- Brant Wildlife Chidren’s Festival
- Scene around Town – inanimate fun
Mayor’s apology – misleading narrative?
The apology published in PQB News on Feb 8, 2023 by Mayor Teunis Westbroek as a condition of the settlement of the defamation lawsuit was clear and unambiguous — until it came to two curious statements. The civil action was brought by local businessmen Ken Schley, John Briuolo and Kelland Food Holdings Ltd. in April 2021. Hearings scheduled for Feb. 22, 2023 were precluded by the out-of-court settlement.
In the apology Westbroek “acknowledges” that the plaintiffs, local businessmen Ken Schley, John Briuolo and Kelland Foods, have an “impeccable and well-deserved reputation for honesty and integrity.”
Not to impune the character of Mr. Schley or Mr. Briuolo by any means, and with all due respect to Mayor Westbroek, but there is no way that he can possibly assert this as fact.
Simply put, Westbroek cannot possibly know whether this all-ecompassing statement is conclusively true or not. In short, the apology veers into coerced flattery. Similarly, Westbroek’s statement that “neither Mr. Schley nor Mr. Briuolo played any role in causing the fire” that destroyed their grocery store is a perfectly valid opinion, but it is not a provable, conclusive fact. All lawyers know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Lawyers for the parties on both sides would likely have been responsible for crafting and approving the settlement terms and the wording of the apology, with the concurrence of their clients. In doing so, they may have unintentionally created a misleading narrative.
The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Bryan G. Baynham of the Vancouver law firm Harper Grey LLP, was previously found guilty in another defamation lawsuit “for a misleading representation [to the court] resulting in an invasive search warrant,” reported Canadian Lawyer Magazine.
Mr. Baynham and his co-counsel “succeeded in getting the court’s endorsement and authority to enter and search [a private home] based on their representations at the ex parte hearing. Their representations were glaringly deficient, but the court only discovered the deficiencies after the home was entered and searched,” said B.C. Supreme Court Judge Del Dley.
A lawyer representing Baynham was quoted saying it’s “highly likely” the high profile firm will appeal the 2014 ruling, however we could find no record of any appeal of this ruling. — LS
School District surprises tenants
As previously reported, “If a recent School District 69 Board meeting is any indication, the Board seems to be intentionally trying to prevent, not encourage, public engagement.”
The observation, referring to their January 24, 2023 meeting, applies equally to their subsequent Board meeting on February 28, 2023 where the issue of “Recording of Board Meetings” was again on the agenda.
Prior to adoption of the Agenda, Trustee Julie Austin suggested moving the discussion of the Recording of Board Meetings, arising from the minutes of the previous meeting, to “after all of our partner groups speak, and after Public Questions and Comments.”
Austin reminded her colleagues that the purpose of including public input at the Board meeting was two-fold: “One was so that people had some opportunity to comment or ask a question on items related to the Agenda, and not have to wait until the end of the meeting. The other, and more pressing reason, was to allow people an opportunity to speak to items coming up on the Agenda” that could result in a decision-making Motion, vote and Board resolution.
Meeting chair Trustee Eve Flynn and Trustee Elaine Young objected, and no public input was permitted during their subsequent half-hour discussion on the topic of recording and retention of Board meetings.
In the end, the topic was kicked down the road with no material resolution or decisions about public access to Committee of the Whole meeting recordings, particularly dealing with Education.
Later in the meeting, it was revealed that some written “Public Questions and Comments” had in fact been received by the Board in advance of the meeting, related to the discussion about meeting recording and retention. But this written communication was not shared with meeting attendees or later observers through the normal courtesy of including the written communications with the meeting agenda.
A review of SD 69’s Youtube Channel reveals that all Board meeting recordings prior to August 2022 have recently been removed despite no public Board policy decision to do so.
SD 69 Board shocks tenants at the former French Creek School
At this same meeting, the School Board accepted their staff’s recommendation to close the former French Creek School building and gym to public/business use, effective July 1, 2023. This has been under consideration for some time, but apparently no-one had advised the tenants who lease part of the premises.
One of the building’s current tenants, operators of a distance learning school for special needs students, apparently heard, for the first time, about the proposed closure just one hour before the Board meeting — not from the School District, but through the grapevine.
Glenn Sollitt, the business owner/operator, understandably shocked and upset, joined the Board meeting just in time to address this last agenda item, which can be viewed at the 1:36:00 point in the recording. Sollitt politely but pointedly asked when the Board was planning to inform the tenants, noting that many of the 35 students whom they serve have been referred from existing SD 69 schools. — GS
Mini-documentary screening April 1 and 8 – Win tickets!
In collaboration with the Brant Wildlife Festival, the Qualicum Beach Cinema Society is screening seven wildlife and conservation mini-documentaries featuring B.C. filmmakers Maxwel Hohn, Peter Mieras and Mike Mckinlay at the French Press Coffee Roasters in Qualicum Beach.
WIN tickets to this exciting pop-up cinema event. Just SUBSCRIBE to Second Opinion QB before 5pm Thursday, April 6, 2023. New subscribers will be eligible to win a pair of tickets (chosen by random draw) to the Saturday, April 8th screening of these mini-documentaries.
The hard-working organizers advise us that seating is limited.
Doors open: 5:30pm for seating and concession Showtime: 6:00pm Admission $10.00/person. Children 3 yrs and under are free provided they are sitting on an adult’s lap. No ticket sales at the door. There will be a cash concession at the event.
French Press Coffee Roasters is located at 694 Primrose Street in Qualicum Beach, B.C. — LS
MP Gord Johns Parliamentary exchange marred
Civil discourse can and does happen in legislative assemblies, even during Question Period in the federal House of Commons.
In this recent brief exchange, our local Member of Parliament Gord Johns informs the House, presses the government, and receives a sincere and thoughtful response from Minister Marc Miller about the tragic discovery at the site of the former Alberni Indian Residential School.
Unfortunately, disrespectful behaviour, like the infantile disruption at the beginning of this exchange, still occurs. — GS
Brant Wildlife Children’s Festival – 3-5pm Wednesday, April 5
Come celebrate with students from preschool to highschool as they share their knowledge and interest in nature alongside community groups that do the same.
The Brant Wildlife Childrens’ Festival gives parents, family members and the general public an opportunity to see and recognize that students care for the environment like other people and groups in our community do.
This is a joint effort between Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers, Qualicum School District, the Brant Wildlife Festival and several other local community groups. — LS
Scene around Town — inanimate fun
Stealthy crows inch their way to morning.