Of Liars, Experts and Reptilian Peace of Mind

A lie is an intentionally false statement, and, people who lie, are liars.

Today I was reminded of just how far some environmental activists are prepared to go to support their views.

Here is the Youtube description of the following video:

The following is an outtake from Joe Berlinger’s movie Crude.  At the March 4, 2007, lunch meeting between plaintiffs’ lead U.S. lawyer Steven Donziger and plaintiffs’ U.S. consultants Charles Champ, Ann Maest and Richard Kamp, they reveal the truth about plaintiffs’ lack of evidence and their intent to manipulate the Ecuadorian court. Maest tells Donziger that they need evidence of groundwater contamination, because plaintiffs did not submit any. Maest admits that, “Right now all the reports are saying it’s just at the pits and the stations, and nothing has spread anywhere at all.” Donziger responds, “Hold on a second, you know, this is Ecuador. … You can say whatever you want, and at the end of the day, there’s a thousand people around the courthouse. You’re going to get what you want. Sorry, but it’s true.” Donziger continues, “Because at the end of the day, this is all for the court just a bunch of smoke and mirrors and bulls**t. It really is. We have enough, to get money, to win.” View more outtakes at YouTube.com/TexacoEcuador. For more information about the Ecuador lawsuit, visit Chevron.com/Ecuador

Just make stuff up, and lie through your teeth, in the name of the “environment.”

One would hope that these kind of shenanigans would be isolated, but, in my experience they are not.

A couple of years ago environmental activist Dr. Kathy Dunster, at that time President of the BC Society of Landscape Architects and member of the College of Applied Biology, made false statements to the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee regarding my Development Permit application which was in front of the LTC. As a result,  I filed formal charges against her with both of the professional organizations. In her responses, (to both organizations) to my allegations, Dr. Dunster made further intentionally false statements and actually accused me of misrepresentation of the facts.

Here is a brief extract from my official response to her  filed defense:

Dr. Dunster allege[d] I “stood up and launched a personal verbal attack against my good character and professionalism. First he declared me “incompetent” because I had failed to put the air photos on the cadastral, which he claimed he had done and having found the place I had located Swanson’s Pond to be in was in his opinion several hundred meters away from where it really is. He stated I was “grossly incompetent” and that this was “shameful behaviour for the President of the BCSLA” and that he had filed complaints with the BCSLA and the College of Applied Biology. Much of what he then said, before the Chair cut him off for acting inappropriately, include the words “Unprofessional,” “Incompetent,” “Biased,” “Improperly Prejudiced,” “Unobjective,” and “Dishonest” because I had not done what Mr. Booth had done with regards to the air photos and cadastral. I was quite shocked by this emotional outburst.”

Here Dr. Dunster has provided the Society with the proverbial “smoking gun,” which proves, beyond any doubt whatsoever, that she is prepared to exaggerate and lie to the Society in this matter. In addition, her statement amounts to an unjustified, ad hominem attack. I have witnesses who will likely swear an affidavit that Dr. Dunster’s account of what I said is untrue. The affidavit will say clearly that I did not use any of the words or terms – “Incompetent, grossly incompetent, shameful behaviour for the President of the BCSLA, unprofessional, incompetent, biased, improperly prejudiced, unobjective and/or dishonest.”

This accusation by Dr. Dunster is an outright lie, and, I challenge her to bring forward anyone, including any member of Islands Trust staff, or members of the Local Trust Committee, present at the meeting to provide a sworn affidavit to support her account of the words I used. Frankly I am appalled at the length to which Dr. Dunster has now proven she is prepared to go to, to try and bring my reputation and credibility into question. I strongly recommend the Society request Dr. Dunster to provide a corroborating statement (s), preferably a sworn affidavit(s), from any witnesses who were present at the LTC meeting. Given she was accompanied by some of her clients, she should have no problem getting her clients to swear affidavits regarding her version of the content of my statements to the LTC. Failing to provide anyone to support her recollection of what I said, on this point alone, demolishes her credibility and brings into question anything that she has stated to the Society in this matter.

Well, Dr. Dunster never did provide a single person to substantiate her lies. And, it was lucky she hadn’t, because they would have been proven to be liars as well. You see, at that time, unknown to Dr. Dunster,  an audio recording of the meeting in question existed.  I forwarded a copy of the recording to both organizations, with the following statement:

The audio recording provides the Committee with the hard, unequivocal evidence Dr. Dunster is prepared to:

 (a) lie to the Society;

(b) exaggerate to the Local Trust Committee (a local government);

(c) fabricate what amounts to an ad hominem attack against me; and

(d) mislead the Society in her defense against my accusations.

Further, the evidence indicated Dr. Dunster had been incompetent in her interpretation of historical aerial mapping.

In spite of the unequivocal evidence she had lied to both organizations, evidently that didn’t breach either of their Codes of Ethics, and she was let off with, what I assume, was a slap on the wrist. “Coincidentally,” after waiting five months for their formal response, the BC Landscape Architect Society’s ruling came down the day before she left office as President. Nothing to see her folks…move along now….

Subsequent to the “resolve” of my complaints, Dr. Dunster launched an Information and Privacy Complaint against me, alleging the audio tape of the public meeting, which proved she was a liar,  should be destroyed.  I laughed out loud when I received her “official” complaint. I responded:

Dear Dr. Dunster,

After a careful review of the Privacy Act and a complete search of the referenced audio recordings I can find no personal information pertaining to you, which you have referred to in your request (attached for your convenience). I note you have not specified exactly what “personal information” you believe is in my possession (e.g. – marital status, DNA, blood type, etc.).

Further (apart from the fact there apparently is no “personal information” on the audio recordings) as you are well aware, the audio recordings you have referred to were recorded at public meetings of the local government. As such, they are exempt under the Privacy Act.

Given my ongoing formal complaints against you to the BC Society of Landscape Architects Society, and the College of Applied Biology, frankly, I find your complaint/dispute on this matter to be vexatious, frivolous, and entirely without merit.  I therefore, and hereby respectfully, request you cease and desist in your harrassing efforts/attempts to interfere with my business and/or personal life.

Unless you can provide me with the specific “personal information,” which you allude to in your written “Dispute,” I will consider any further communication from you on this matter to be harrassment. If you have a problem with that, I suggest you take your concerns up directly with the Privacy Commissioner’s Office.


That was back in June 2010, and, I haven’t heard another peep from her since then. She evidently got the message.

The truth of the matter is that she has, in writing, proven she has no compunction to lie to government and professional organizations in support of her beliefs and/or defense of her lies. That’s consistency for you. And, if any of the above  statements weren’t true, they would be libelous, and I would likely be receiving notice of a civil action from the good Doctor to protect her “good name.”

Lastly, both of the above examples of the “ends justifying the means,” reminds me of another story I read a couple of years ago about another well known local environmentalist, and former Liberal candidate, Briony Penn.  I’ll let you be the judge of this one . (Source – http://www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id=2937):

Penn[‘s] activism closer to home has sparked similar campaigns.

“A certain unnamed BC Park wanted to expand a stupid parking lot into some beautiful natural habitat,” she says. “So I went to the area and dug around until I found a long-toed salamander. Then I brought the Parks people out and showed them how they couldn’t possibly destroy priceless habitat of this solitary survivor of an extremely rare, endangered species, one that biologists all over the world were talking about. They immediately agreed, and cancelled the parking lot expansion.”

When I point out that long-toed salamanders are dirt-common if you know where to look for them, she replies, with a definite glint in her eye, “You tell me what’s more important, that salamander’s peace of mind or parking space for one more Winnebago.”

Ah yes, reptilian peace of mind….that trumps mammalian truth every time…in some peoples’ version of reality.



One Response to Of Liars, Experts and Reptilian Peace of Mind

  1. Paul Marcano says:


    My My, but what a tangled web they weave, but who can blame humanity for being so caffufled and baffled by the googolplex (“a one, followed by writing zeroes until you get tired”) of processes that support the notion of any reality. A reality which by definition is “all an illusion and yet one upheld by all the power of the Universe and the mind which is one”.

    The one best antidote to falling into a malaise of belief systems and convictions of self-delusion is to ultimately deny the externality of relations and understand that even a complex, conclusive labyrinth of thoughts about the entire globe and Universe you live in, is ultimately a product of your own infinitely creative mind, analysing its own interpretive sense impressions. The ‘science’.

    And that is the crux of the biscuit isn’t it?, ‘mind and what you think is real’. It is amazing how you can generally summons up precisely whatever evidence you are looking for to support your presumptions because in the end, it is all ‘imagination’. And an incomplete creativity at that, a veritable work in progress.

    Perfectionists imagine there is a perfect moment to ‘draw a conclusion and end the debate so to speak’; they really should know better. A rudimentary observation of your mental processes will reveal that what you imagine as the state of your world is actually the state of your mind. How you see things personally or even as a ‘wee’ group is not necessarily universal and seldom is complete.

    While there is enough evidence in a googleplex of data to confirm the existence of anything, it is amazing just how much less evidence is deemed enough to declare “the debate is over” on something as complex as Climate Change. While fanatics go from catchy branding labels like ‘Global Warming’ to the more innoculous and safer brand ‘Climate Change’ or ‘Intelligent Design’, I would suggest that self-interest take a break from ‘hyping for research dollars’ and lets just call it for what it fundamentally is… “Change, the only constant”, and not always change for the worse, for the more optimystic among us 😉

    To live long and prosper without fear and without the stress of other peoples’ delusions… a little xmas/season’s greetings to all and hopes for a very benevolent, lucrative and prosperous new year 2012. A brand new calendar awaits us. Be creative.

    Paul Marcano

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