LETTER: Allegations not satisfactorily refuted

Last week Councillor Nundal paid for printing staff’s summary of the legal opinion provided to Council ...

Last week Councillor Nundal paid for printing staff’s summary of the legal opinion provided to Council, presumably to justify voting the way he did. We  recognize his right to do so but wonder why he did,  as we are unaware of anyone questioning his motivation.

However, we see both the case and the legal opinion very differently.

The staff summary was only a selection of quotes from the legal opinion, not the whole document.

We read the entire opinion thoroughly and discussed it with the lawyer who provided it, and concluded that it was an honest opinion based on the information she had received, but we were unaware of what that information was and who provided it.  Also, the lawyer had not been given all the evidence supporting the allegations.

Further, there was no investigation (people directly involved had not been interviewed) and no sworn testimony was sought or statements legally tested. Then we carefully listened to and evaluated the allegations, the publicly known facts, and Councillor Hensman’s responses. We concluded that the evidence supporting the allegations had not been satisfactorily refuted and that therefore, a prima facie case did exist.

Consequently, we presented a motion to send the issue to court where it would receive impartial judgment, reached by persons qualified to make such a judgment.

Although four of the seven members voted in favour of this action, the special requirement for this type of motion is at least five votes in favour and that all councillors (including the subject of the allegations!) must vote, resulted in the motion being defeated. This meant that the chance for the allegations to be proven or Councillor Hensman’s name to be cleared was lost.

Councillor Hensman’s guilt or innocence now rests in the court of public opinion. That is not the result we wanted but the vote was final.

Last Monday, a motion was passed reflecting our current lack of confidence in our mayor, because of his demonstrated inability to control his temper and his recent actions, taken in direct conflict to the mayor’s obligation to reflect the will of council, as expressed in the Community Charter, section 116.

We presented and supported this motion to make it clear that we could not tolerate such behaviour and in the hope that, having directly and honestly addressed these issues, council can now concentrate on doing municipal business  in accordance with the rules which exist to ensure fair democratic procedures and to serve the citizens of Mission in the best way possible.

Councillors Jeff Jewel, Nelson Tilbury, Jenny Stevens