Truth or Consequence?

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. – Galileo

Ignoring the real question, and pointing in an irrelevant direction, appears to be Ms. Adam’s defense to my opinion Salt Spring is already in compliance with the Fish Protection Act, and therefore the Riparian Area Regulation. (see )

At least she has now admitted she was wrong as to when the RAR was enacted. However, what she still does not evidently understand is that when a policy directive from the Province is “enacted” it means it is effectively “implemented” immediately, and, sets a compliance date by which local governments must comply with the directive.

Thus, when she responded today that the RAR was “implemented in 2006” she is once again wrong.

Further, there are two ways local governments can comply with a policy directive under the Fish Protection Act (FPA). While my opinion (see ) clearly details the how and why, Ms. Adams has clearly chosen to completely ignore the following legislation:

From the FPA: “12 (4) If a policy directive…applies, a local government must (a) include in its zoning and rural land use bylaws riparian area protection provisions in accordance with the directive, or (b) ensure that its bylaws and permits under Part 26 of the Municipal Act…provide a level of protection that, in the opinion of the local government, is comparable to…that established by the directive.”

Perhaps Ms. Adams does not understand what the word “or” between subsections (a) and (b) means.

Or, perhaps she doesn’t understand what the term “in the opinion of the local government” means.

Or perhaps she doesn’t understand what “a level of protection…comparable to that established by the directive” means.

Or, maybe she doesn’t want to try and understand what Section 12 in its entirety means, because then, whether she liked it or not, she would have to agree with me.

The 2008 letter from Ms. Marlene Caskey, MoE, which Ms. Adams referred to this week, did not, and does not, in any manner, address the provisions of Section 12. Nor does it address the Transitional provisions of Section 8 of the RAR. All the letter said was that in Ms. Caskey’s opinion, Salt Spring had not yet implemented RAR.

Ms. Caskey did not, then, or at anytime after, offer an opinion on whether the Salt Spring LTC may be compliant because of Section 12. She has never asked myself or former Trustee Lineger what our opinion was in 2005. Nor does she have the authority to deem whether a local government’s opinion is valid or not. That is a task, at best, for the Attorney General’s office, and, I can assure you no such determination has ever been made, let alone even considered.

Section 12 allows a local government flexibility. Read it again until you understand it. The Province, in including Section 12, made the conscious decision to allow a local government to form a flexible independent opinion. That opinion, once formed, cannot be arbitrarily questioned or overturned by MoE or Islands Trust bureaucrats.

It could however be questioned in a court of law. But, what would be the allegation? That the opinion formed by the local government was not “reasonable?”

How would one go about trying to prove that case, and how would it play out in the media?

In an email to me, Ms. Stacey Wilkerson, Habitat Management, the branch of the MoE in charge of the Riparian Area Regulation, believes there “must be a rational basis for the local government to conclude that its bylaws and permits provide a level of protection for riparian areas that is comparable to…that established by the directive.”

I wholeheartedly agree. And, on March 7, 2005, in both myself and Trustee Lineger’s opinion, there was a rational basis to conclude that our bylaws and permits provided a comparable level of protection. I have, in detail, provided that rationale to the Trust. Read it until you understand it.

Why Ms. Adams consistently fails to (a) understand the relevant legislation, (b) understand how the legislation allowed us to form our opinion, and (c) understand how that opinion, once formed, enabled the SSI LTC in 2005 to be in compliance with the Fish Protection Act, remains a mystery to me.

Another mystery is why Ms. Adams is speaking out on behalf of the local government. She is not a locally elected politician. She is not a member of the local government. The Islands Trust is not a local government under the FPA, the Local Trust Committee is. She has no authority in this matter, and, her opinion has no sway or say over what Trustee Lineger and I thought in 2005.

However, for a Chief Administrative Officer of a government agency, to continue to evade a question which is extremely relevant to the public’s opinion forming process, during the amendment to our OCP, is misleading, disingenuous and, could very easily form the basis for a court challenge in the future.

I once again challenge her to provide an opinion, legal or otherwise, which rationally contradicts the actual content of my claim. Until she does so, I will continue to alert the public that they are being grossly misled during a public process which statutorily requires the public to be properly informed.

I also challenge any of our three trustees to do the right thing and request a legal opinion to refute my claim. It is entirely within their right, ability and power to do so. All they have to do is ask.

How on earth could they possibly pass up an opportunity to try and prove me wrong?

Then again, perhaps the question they are asking themselves is this  “Why would we potentially want to prove Booth right, if it will interfere with our current agenda of blanketing the majority of the island in a development permit area?”

C’mon Ms. Adams. Give us a real argument, instead of thinly veiled misdirection, because frankly we’re tired of cheap tricks and deceptions.

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