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Columns: It Didn’t Take Long
UPDATED – By Mike Archer. It didn’t take long for Mayor Bruce Banman to start defending the old guard and acting as though he were one of them. Faced with questions about George Peary’s Deal guaranteeing the revenue of a private business he has sided with the owners of The Abbotsford Heat.Would Not Have Signed George Peary’s Deal
He told the Vancouver Sun Friday, “Had I been sitting in the [mayor's] chair, I can quite candidly tell you I wouldn’t have signed that deal.”
What is surprising is that, while admitting the deal was a bad one, he felt the need to kick the Abbotsford Ratepayers Association (ARA) and its president, Vince Dimanno, in the balls and accuse them of costing Abbotsford taxpayers money by tattling on the City for breaking the law.
In an interview with the Vancouver Sun Mayor Banmnan said, “Here’s the problem with that. A legal opinion is just that: an opinion. Let’s say Vince is right. Congratulations, you’ve cost the city more money.”
Or as George used to say, ‘If you disagree with me … sue me’.
Breaking The Law Better Than Paying The Price
Background: Legal Opinion â€“ Abbotsford Heat Contract
So, breaking the law is fine as long as getting caught doesn’t cost us anything. And, apparently, those who point out that we’ve broken the law should be ashamed of themselves for causing us to get in trouble.
What an amazing thing for a public official to say.
The mismanagement and incompetence at Abbotsford City Hall is apparently so ingrained that the new mayor is prepared to take the side of incompetence and illegality rather than honesty, legality and competence.
Covering the losses of the rich local ownership group and the wealthy Calgary Flames organization for ten years is a better waste of taxpayers money than following the BC Community Charter, living up to the law of the land!
Why Did We Vote Against George Peary?
Vince Dimanno may have faults. Mayor Banman may not like him – the dimwits at City Hall certainly don’t – but on matters involving the expenditure of taxpayers’ money and the law he has a pretty clean track record. There aren’t too many things that get by him or his organization on taxes or legal matters.
Banman may not yet have figured out why people voted against George Peary. While the Abbotsford News and The Abbotsford Times gleefully repeat whatever they are told to say by the incompetent and dishonest bureaucrats who spend our money, people like Vince Dimanno actually do their homework and, without getting paid a dime, devote an enormous amount of their personal lives to looking after the interests of the taxpayers of Abbotsford.
Dimanno can be accused of looking after his own interests because he wants to reduce his taxes and live in a city where the administration obeys the law and looks after its citizens in a competent fashion. Well shame on him.The fuzzy City Hall math that Dimanno has always railed against is exemplified by Banman’s words. Ten years of losses by the Abbotsford Heat, when combined with the losses at the AESC pail in comparison to the costs associated with getting out of the deal. Besides, maybe we could recover some of those costs from the ten lawyers Banman refers to who gave the City such bad advice.
There’s no math that proves ten lawyers are better than one. The point is that the law is written and enforced for a purpose. It is not written as a challenge to lawyers to see if they can get around it and do what the law was written to prevent. Ten bad lawyers will always be trumped by one good lawyer who knows the law.
It only took four weeks for the new mayor to learn that the biggest enemy of City Hall is the Abbotsford taxpayer. Fast learner.
If accusing the president of the ARA of costing the taxpayers money by insisting that the City of Abbotsford obey the law is what we can expect from our new mayor then maybe we should have just voted for George.
At least he wasn’t promising anything new.
Today correspondent Greg Cross sent us a note this week about a decision by the Supreme Court which should send a shudder through all those who deliberately circumvent the intent of the law.
While the specific case has to do with tax loopholes, it is nonetheless a landmark ruling that invokes the General Anti-Avoidance Rule or GAAR provisions in the Income Tax Act. In layman’s terms, the ruling states that actions taken primarily to avoid or take advantage of loopholes in the law can be judged to be abusive and any benefits which accrue from such actions can be denied.
The City’s ten lawyers and chief bottle washers should study the decision carefully. They may be in hotter water than they yet know. No word on whether politicians who follow such advice are or should be liable for punitive damages or restitution to the taxpayers for decisions to circumvent the law with taxpayer money.
Abbotsford Heat Ownership Group – Mayor Banman’s New Friends
In June of 2009, after the deals were struck, the members of the Abbotsford Heat investors group were finally revealed.Other than hotelier Lane Sweeting, owner of the Ramada Inn and Conference Centre, who has represented the group in public, and at whose hotel the visiting AHL team players stay when in town, the members of the group represent a variety of interests.
The group includes:
- Lane Sweeting, Ramada Plaza & Conference Centre and Director of the Abbotsford Tourism Society (2007 Secretary Treasurer)
- Barry Marsden, Chairman of Cascade Aerospace and The Conair Group
- Ron McNeil, founder of LMS Reinforcing Steel Group
- Fred Strumpski, real estate developer and Columbia Bible College donor (through the Fred and Ella Strumpski Foundation) and one-time board member of the Mennonite Historical Society of BC.
The group is said to also include other minor investors.