So Consider this About legal Fees!!

It is my understanding that Mayor Close has the towns “Lawyers”, you know that group that some call bottom feeders from Guelph, coming to town today to speak to Council about the Rhonda’s RRSP, I mean law suit.

The firm itself is a very learned group, that are in the $300 to $650 per hour range.

Now if we think about this, Guelph is a three hour drive each way, and then say we add 1 hour for his actual talk to council, now add in the councilors time, the Clerk and of Rhonda and lets say we pay them a mean average of sy $30 for the meeting plus Rhonda at $100 per hour, this little meeting cost us tax payers somewhere in the area of $6,000.

If we now total the legal fees for the defendants, I believe are somewhere in the $5,000 each so that is time 5, we are now at some thing in the order of $50,000 spent, which will ultimately be paid by the taxpayers of this fine town.

The Statement of Defense filed by Bruce on The Bruce is some 600 pages of material with Exhibits. The Lawyers for the town will have to review each page at say 1/4 hour per page. Thats roughly $150.00 per page times 600 equates to $90,000.

Now lets deal with the Counter Claim. Bruce on the Bruce is Counter Claiming for approximately $250,000. This will require a statement of Defence to be prepared and filed say 20 hours, another $12,000.00.
Assuming we get there there will be Examinations. Say another 80 to 100 hour for each side say $150,000.

We haven’t dealt with any motions or got to Court yet and we are already pushing a million.

Aren’t you proud of your elected representative???!!!
Be sure to let them know!



Craig’s Commentary Volume 2 Number 14

Five Frequently Breached Principles Of Economic Development As A Framework For Evaluating TSBP Budget Proposals

A Presentation to TSBP Council

February10, 2012

by Craig Gammie
“The best thing a local government can do for a local economy is to stay the hell out of it” (participant at the January 25, 2012 Grey Bruce economic development workshop)

TSBP taxes are set to increase another 7.2 per cent in 2012, bringing the 5 year tax increase to a whopping 38 per cent.

Tax increases 2008 through 2012

2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2008 to 2012
6.2% 3.3% 9.7% 7.2% 7.2% 38.28%

People are struggling. People are losing their homes. The situation is dire, and untenable. And the increases have been and are largely for expenditures that are unlawful, unethical, contrary to your oath of office, economically unsound and economically unfair. The increases are for the most part theft. Money stolen from the people.

Something must change.

Council is trying to pull the tax rate scam on us again this year. Tax rate increase is irrelevant, totally meaningless.

Tax increase is what counts, not tax rate increase.

Council is trying to blame MPAC assessments again this year. MPAC assessments are irrelevant. They have absolutely nothing to do with the taxes or the tax increase on the average property. All tax increases are caused by council – period.

I give this presentation knowing full well that the very controversial 2011 budget passed only five to four. So I am aware that in my comments I may be preaching to some who are already converted.

In this presentation I am going to say things that are controversial, and that are contrary to conventional wisdom, and to a large degree are diametrically opposed to conventional wisdom.

Because of the controversial nature, some of you, likely the ones that supported last year’s budget, may feel a strong urge to discount or dismiss my ideas. I challenge you to resist that urge. My ideas and opinions are very carefully considered and draw on a very strong academic background and extensive relevant career experience.

There are several Economic Development principles important to municipalities, including:

Principle #1 – conformance with the Municipal Act
Principle #2 – conformance to ethical standards
Principle #3 – conformance to oaths of office
Principle #4 – economical soundness
Principle #5 – economical fairness

The principles should also be used for much municipal decision making, including budget decisions, strategic plan decisions, and just about any thing else.

While such principles are universally accepted, and frequently spoken, they are, at least in the cases of TSBP and County of Bruce, almost universally ignored in the course of developing budgets and implementing economic development policy or economic development services policy. They are paid lip service only, and barely even that.

As a result of ignoring these critical principles, the welfare of the constituents of TSBP and County of Bruce is diminished. As a result of ignoring these principles, TSBP and County councils have been making bad economic development decisions for years.

As a result of ignoring these critical principles, and of making bad decisions, people have lost their homes, people have been pushed below the low income cut-off line (often mistakenly called the poverty line), and even the well–off have had to tighten up – totally unnecessarily and unfairly – as a result of the poor decision making.

The decision making needs to be corrected.

A step in the corrective action is to incorporate the principles described below into the budget and economic development decision making.

The rationale behind the 5 principles if provided below.

Principle #1 – ensure conformance with the Municipal Act

“ASSISTANCE PROHIBITED”. That’s the law. The reason it’s law is so councils don’t steal money from taxpayers and give it to private interests. This is only common sense.

I’ve been told many times that the Town has a legal opinion that grants to chambers are not prohibited – that paragraph 106 does not apply. But when I say let’s see the opinion, the answer I get is “that’s legal – that’s closed”.

But if there were indeed such a legal opinion, there would be no reason to have it in closed. I believe that there is no such legal opinion, and if there is, it’s only fair that it be subject to public scrutiny.

Council should eliminate all from the budget that does not conform to the law.

Principle #2 – ensure that the proposal is ethical

The rationale for the “ethical” principle is in the reason why we have municipal corporations.

We could all build our own roads and sewers and water systems and deal with our own garbage and even do our own policing.

But it makes a whole lot more sense to throw a bit of money in the communal pot and provide services to ourselves collectively. But there’s one little problem with a system like that. It’s called the free rider problem. Sometimes there’s going to be someone who says I can just help myself to the collectively provided services without paying for any of it. And if others who do pay see a free rider helping himself then they may say well I‘m not going to be a sucker so I’ll just get a free ride too. And you can see how the system could break down.

So to preclude the free rider problem, we make a law that says if you own property you have to pay into the collective pot, and if you don’t, the collective can take your property. It’s paragraph 351 of the municipal act. And it does fix the free rider problem. But it also raises another problem.

If someone collects money from you and uses it for something that you should have been able to choose whether to contribute – e.g. giving to charity – and you refuse to pay, then that someone could literally confiscate your home for not giving to some charity, or for any other thing that should be discretionary, and that are not intended to be part of the forced collective.

If you could not pay the taxes you could literally have your home stolen from you.

Taxpayers work hard for their money. Except for the money legitimately collected for legitimate municipal services, people have a right to keep their money, and have a right to choose how they will spend their money. For a municipality to try to take away that discretion is unethical.

Those services that absolutely make sense to be dealt with collectively should be the only ones in the Municipal picture.

Principle #3 – ensure conformance with council members oath of office

From the municipal act, the role of council is:

“to represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the municipality”

“Public” and “municipality” in this context mean the same thing, that is the members of the corporate body acting in their capacity as members of the corporate body.

The Oath of office includes:

“truly, faithfully, impartially exercise this office”

This means truly represent the members of the corporate body in their capacity as members of the corporate body and consider the interests of the members of the corporate body in their capacity as members of the corporate body.

Taking money from the members of the corporate body and giving it to the private sector or taking care of someone’s private interests is contrary to “taking care of the interests of the members of the corporate body in their capacity as members of the corporate body”.

The oath needs to be taken more seriously.

Principle #4 – ensure that the proposal is economically sound

There are very few budget spending proposals that don’t require tax dollars (and reserves are tax dollars too).

When you take money from residents in the form of taxes, right off the bat you hurt prosperity, you hurt the economy, you hurt the jobs situation.

And though it’s possible in theory to use that money in a way such that created prosperity, economy and jobs more than compensate for the prosperity, economy and jobs lost as a result of the taxation, the practice at least at the municipal level is far different than what is theoretically possible.

Because municipalities do not have the expertise to fiddle in the economy, they will almost invariably do more harm than good. Private markets and private transactions will almost invariably do a better job of managing the economy than any municipal government could possibly do.

That’s behind the quote:

“the best way for a municipal government to improve a local economy is to stay the hell out of it”

Principle #5 – ensure that the proposal is economically fair

Even if you did find an economic or budget intervention that was economically sound in the net, it should also go through the test of economic fairness.

If “A” has $100 dollars and has an opportunity to make it $105 dollars and you confiscate “A”s hundred dollars and give it to “B” and “B” turns it into $110 would that make it right? No it may be economically sound but it would also be unfair. Because the hundred dollar belongs to “A”, and the benefit of investing that $100 should flow to “A”.

So if you must wade into the local economy, and I advise against it, at least be fair.

The 2012 budget is not fair.

So to get back in control we should have taxes on the average property at a maximum at the 2008 level plus 5 years of inflation. This would be about 8% above the 2008 level. Meaning instead of a 7.2 per cent increase for 2012 we need a 20 per cent decrease.

Not a twenty per cent decrease in tax rate – a twenty per cent decrease in taxes on the average property.

The reduction is there. Just follow the five principles.

Below, some of the key budget proposals that contravene many or all of the five principles, and that if dropped will go a long way towards reaching the twenty per cent tax reduction.

proposal amount Lawful? Ethical? Oath? Economically Sound? Economically Fair?
Economic development 188,000 20% 20% 20% no no
grant to wiarton chamber $40,000 ?? no no no no no
physician recruitment ?? no no no no no
wiarton willie $11,400 10% 10% 10% no no
various grants no no no

Other comments:

Do not do the roads study – it is a waste of good money – the scoring system is ridiculous

The hope bay situation will never score high on the roads needs study – but it should be addressed anyway

Do not do the phase I pollution study – it is a waste of good money.

Grants: These should be denied – fail all 5 criteria

1 Mar Women’s Institute 2,056.00
2 GNN – The Real Uganda (Kelsey Baker) 1,000.00
3 Show Garden Club 1,000.00
4 Allenford Curling Club $
5 Wiarton Bluewater Car Show $
6 Women’s House Serving Bruce & Grey 5,000.00
7 Elsinore Community Centre Inc. 1,000.00
8 Sauble Area Medical Clinic Incorporated • 75,000.00
11 Wiarton Kid’s Den Day Care Centre 4,336.52
12 Wiarton & District Co-operative Nursery School 716.87
14 Crime Stoppers of Grey Bruce 1,000.00
15 Peninsula Adventure Sports Association 5,035.84
16 Allenford Improvement Assocation 4,000.00
17 Sauble Beach Chamber of Commerce and 24 Weeks of Summer Program $167,397.00

If you give a grant to the sauble chamber it will be the worst of all theft from the people – you may be surprised at the reaction.

Craig’s Commentary Volume 2 Number 13

RE: February 21, 2012 Council Agenda

The pdf version of the full agenda package is available on the town website at:

An Html version is at:

Comments on a few interesting items in the Council Agenda Package

4.4 Litigation or potential litigation, including matters before administrative tribunals, affecting the municipality or local board AND Personal matters about an identifiable individual including municipal or local board employees (Municipal Solicitor)

Whoever puts the “closed” agenda together should read the Municipal Act. And the ombudsman’s report 2010. The agenda item is supposed to tell as much as possible. “Municipal Solicitor” tells nothing.

I assume that agenda item 4.4 is as required by this January 30 2012 council resolution as reported in 2012 02 07 council agenda:

It was MOVED by J. Kirkland, SECONDED by J. Turner and CARRIED
THAT we request our municipal lawyer and other lawyers with expertise in labour and litigation
law to attend a meeting with the Town on the matter that was discussed in closed session
regarding blog.

I cannot know, but I hope the discussion has something to do with whether the town should continue to fund “the lawsuit”.

I was told that the “Municipal Solicitor” that is coming to the closed session is with the firm Millar Thompson, which is the same firm that is representing the plaintiff, and is being paid taxpayers’ money.

I hope the information is wrong. They wouldn’t have the gall. Would they?

6.2 Minutes Special Council-February 10, 2012

The February10 minutes seem to be missing from the agenda package

7.1 Economic Development Committee-Introduction and Committee Function

The Economic Development Committee asked for and was granted 45 minutes to come before council and the public so that the committee members could tell council and the public how important they are, and how the municipality would wither and die without them.

Committees are formed by council to serve a specific public interest purpose. Their “function” is determined, or at least is supposed to be determined, by council, as representatives of the public. But on February 20, members of the EDC are going to tell council and the public what their function is. Do we have the accountability turned around a bit?

This delegation should not even be on the agenda. That they are on the agenda illustrates how totally out of control the EDC is.

The EDC, contrary to what it should be doing, are doing great harm to the municipality, by sucking up taxpayers’ money.

The EDC needs to be disbanded.

8.8 EDC01-2012 Strategic Plan

Economic Development Officer Danielle Mulasmajic wrote the strategic plan RFP (Request For Proposal) and is the town contact with the strategic plan consultant DPRA. Danielle is also secretary to the EDC. Council has never asked the EDC to get involved in the strategic plan. They did that all on their own.

This little arrangement gives the EDC undue influence in the development of the strategic plan. This is unacceptable because the undue EDC influence diminishes the influence of the public. It’s also unacceptable because the EDC influence is harmful to the public.

The recommendations from the EDC regarding the strategic plan should be denied.

Note that EDC members are welcome to input to the strategic plan just like any other citizen. But they should do it as citizens, outside the EDC.

The EDC recommendation that a strategic plan sub-committee be appointed by council to work with the consultant is especially wrong. Because it is really a recommendation to appoint the EDC as the strategic plan subcommittee.

To be clear, I am in support of Councillor Jackson’s motion to delay the final draft of the strategic plan pending more public consultation.

8.11 BOWMAN15-2012 School Resource Officer

OPP at a recent council meeting recommended increasing the police services contract by one person at a cost of $150,000 for a school resources officer. Then they indicated that they already have a school resources officer doing the job. Councillor Bowman is correct in asking what’s going on here.

8.12 BOWMAN16-2012 Grants and Donations

Councillor Bowman is recommending that council consider the formation of a working group to develop requirements and a weighting measure for future Grants and donations.
This is totally unnecessary. Sections 106, 107, and 224 of the Municipal Act provide all the guidance necessary. If these sections are considered properly, the grant program will be so small it will not need the advice of a working group.

8.15 CLK13-2012 Terms of Reference, Planning Advisory Committee/Committee of

Council currently has a Planning Advisory Committee and a Committee of
Adjustment. All members of council constitute membership of each of these committees.

Council is considering having fewer councillors and adding public appointees for both committees.

I have no concerns about the new structure for a Committee of Adjustment, as long as council can find competent unbiased people to sit on the committee. Otherwise we will just have everything appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The proposed change to the Planning Advisory Committee is a different story. Currently the planning advisory committee uses Bruce County planners to advise them regarding planning applications (applications for amendments etc.). This system seems to be working well. There is no need to bring in new committee members to replace the County planners, or to augment the effort of the county planners.

County planners have recently recommended rejection of some applications for amendments to the TSBP official plan. It is no secret that this irked a few council members.

Call me suspicious if you like, but this Planning Advisory Committee change proposal looks a bit like a scheme to get a committee that will support whatever amendments to the official plan are asked for, without considering the merits.

This would only lead to many more proposals being appealed to the OMB, at great and unnecessary cost to everyone.

The planning advisory committee proposal needs more discussion.

One set of “terms” is presented for both committees, as if they were a combined committee. This is wrong. They are separate committees with distinctly different roles. Two sets of terms are necessary.

Regarding reports of the Planning Advisory Committee, the draft “terms” document indicates that recommendations of the committee “will be reported to Municipal Council by submitting a formal report, prepared in the Town of South Bruce Peninsula format. The report will be signed by both the Committee Chair and the Chief Administrative Officer.”

Call me suspicious, but is this not the CAO inserting herself into the policy discussion – again? The CAO should not have anything to do with the content or substance of any committee report. (See also agenda items 8.18 and 8.22).

8.17 CLK15-2012 Letter to Staff and Council, R-104-2012 Clarity to Council

This item was brought forward out of a concern about staff providing speculation and guesses about an issue, rather than facts, and that council was at times making questionable decisions based on staff speculation.

A letter to staff was supposed to end the speculation and result in facts being provided to council instead.

The draft letter presented in the agenda package fails to do that. The draft letter doesn’t even identify the problem.

It needs to go back for redrafting.

8.18 CLK16-2012 Letter to Officers and Employees, R-102-2012 Interruption and

This initiative was brought forward because certain staff members are continually and inappropriately inserting themselves into the policy debate, as if they were elected representatives.

A letter to staff was supposed to be drafted to stop inappropriate interruptions and comments in council and committee meetings.

The draft letter to staff in the agenda package fails to do this. The letter should be sent back for redrafting.

A “guide” written by Ministry staff has been included as an attachment to the proposed letter.

This “guide” should be taken with a grain of salt, as the “guide” writer clearly does not understand the nature of a municipality as a corporation, or the role of council, or the role of staff.

The worst error in the “guide” is the indication that council makes decisions in the public interest and also makes decisions by compromise. But for the most part it is not possible to simultaneously pursue “the public interest” and “compromise”. Any more than a judge can find a “compromise” between a plaintiff and a “defendant” in a civil suit. The public interest must be paramount. That’s what the Act says. There is nothing in the Act that would suggest “compromise” as bearing on public policy decisions, and certainly not trumping “the public interest”.

The MAH staff document says about strategic plans” “The [strategic] plan is a framework that encourages consistency in municipal decision-making among both councillors and staff.” This is completely contrary to the Act. The Act is clear that council, as representatives of the people, makes the decisions. Staff implement.

The role of staff in policy debates and discussions is best taken directly from the Act, rather than some provincial Bureaucrat’s rambling narrative.

8.20 CAO09-2012 Sauble Sno-Riders Clubhouse Request

In August, a majority of council, in an effort to win a popularity contest by seeing who could give away most of the public’s assets, and against the advice of citizens, made an indication of support for selling cheap a piece of land to the Sno-Riders club. Now it turns out that there are some complications. Council should just be honest with the club and say “no chance below market” and “not much chance at all”. And council should in the future avoid making commitments, tacit or direct, that they cannot honour, even if that means not winning the popularity award.

8.22 CAO11-2012 Role of Officers and Employees and Councillors of the Municipality

Council asked for a letter clarifying roles.

The draft letter in the agenda package simply uses the same MAH “guide” as was used in agenda item 8.18.

For reasons provided in my comments about item 8.18, the MOH guide should not be used. The municipality is and should be bound by the Act, not by whatever ministry staff think the Act means. Sections of the Act should be used instead of the guide.

The letter should go back for redrafting.

8.23 CAO12-2012 Timely Information and Analysis

The draft letter fails. It should be sent back for redrafting.

9.3 BOWMAN12-2012 Cancellation of Budget Meetings January 16th and 18th (Referred from February 7, 2012)

Mayor Close, without council approval, and thus contrary to protocol, cancelled two budget meetings. Councillor Bowman is requesting that the Mayor go on record admitting to the error.

A February 2011 press release about the “blog”, a May 2011 press release about the “blog”, a letter to Minister Bartolucci saying sauble septic systems were causing well problems, and several similar statements to the press, were all issued/made without the required formal council support. And at least one other statement/letter that council was not even aware of has gone out to an individual or organization. And who knows how many inappropriate, unauthorized letters will never come to light because of the chill effect of the town’s $700,000 lawsuit.

Good luck Councillor Bowman.

10.6 By-Law 26-2012 A By-Law to Regulate the Use of Properties Located Within the Town of South Bruce Peninsula Relative to Public Nuisance

“Nuisance” is defined but not used in the by-law. If it is not used it needs to be taken out of the definitions section.

Imagine that The names have changed the Story hasn’t!

Hey Rhonda and Members of Council

“The principle that governments cannot sue individuals for defamation would bemeaningless if governments could circumvent the principle though involvement in litigation brought by individuals to silence government critics. The fact that Whitcombe and Wilson are the plaintiffs instead of the County is a meaningless distinction when it comes to the threat to free expression.”

Fling a claim while hiding doesn’t work!!
Case Law is Clear!
Taxpayers be warned read this and understand why your taxes are gonna go up dramaticly if this litigation is not stopped now!!!


Craig’s Commentary Volume 2 Number 12

Jay’s Law Tramples Freedom of Expression Guarantee


While “Council Calls In OPP Over Sign” (February 11) is balanced, there is more to the story.

A sign brought to TSBP town hall February 10 read: “TAX HIKES – 7.2% 2012, 38% 2008 TO 2012, STOP THE THEFT”. When Councillor Turner saw the sign he asked CFO Neiffer if she was willing to complain that the sign was offensive to her. When I asked Councillor Turner if he was drumming up complaints again he cursed me, in council chambers, in front of several people, and then abandoned his mission.

Another sign brought in read: “SOMEONE’S SUING JOHN, ORMA, RICK AND CRAIG FOR $700,000 ON YOUR DIME”.

As soon as council convened, chair Jay Kirkland indicated that he didn’t like the sign and asked that it be removed.

I asked what authority they acted under and what rule had been broken, and neither having been provided, I declined the invitation to remove the sign.

Police were called; three officers ordered the sign removed; I complied.

I have made a formal complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, based on this:

Before the Charter of Rights and Freedoms was entrenched in the constitution on April 17, 1982, we had a system of majority-rule, and of parliamentary supremacy.

Because of concerns that the majority-rule system was subject to abuse in the form of tyranny-of-the-majority, the Charter was included in the 1982 Constitution Act. With the entrenchment of the Charter, Parliamentary supremacy no longer existed, the Charter became supreme, and any federal or provincial legislation, or local by-laws and resolutions, became subject to Charter or court scrutiny.

A key component of the Charter is the right of freedom of expression.

I asked in the council meeting what rule had been contravened, but no rule or contravention of a rule was ever cited. The answer I got was that the sign was removed because Chairman Jay Kirkland “didn’t like it”. The sign was removed because it contravened Jay’s law.

I asked what authority council had to remove the sign. I was told that the majority voted and that majority-rule was the authority.

I understand that the OPP were told that there was a “procedural motion” passed to remove the sign, and that the majority voted for it. Without checking whether this was true, the officers ordered the sign removed. In fact there was no such “procedural motion”. There was an informal vote (all but councillors Bowman and Jackson voted “removal”), but there was no motion, no mover, no seconder, no motion discussion, and no vote on a motion. The minutes reflect this. The police erred in not checking whether there was indeed a valid “procedural motion”, and in doing so, illegally trampled my Charter-guaranteed freedom of expression right.

The council order to remove the sign was made without citing a rule contravened and without the authority of a proper resolution. Council illegally trampled my Charter-guaranteed freedom of expression right.

I do not have the right to disrupt a council meeting. But I do have the right to “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, … subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” (Charter paragraphs 1 and 3).

Laws like Jay’s law (if Jay doesn’t like it, it’s prohibited) may be common in other parts of the world.

But is Jay’s law “reasonably justified in a free and democratic society”?

I am going to apply to the courts for a decision. Because that’s also my right.

Craig Gammie
Sauble Beach

Craig’s Commentary Volume 2 Number 10

No Scientific Evidence Of A Human Waste Management Problem Warranting Sauble Communal Sewers

To: Mayor and Council

Re: Sauble $86,500 “pollution study”

The TSBP sauble sewers ad hoc committee has proposed an $86,500 Pollution Study for Sauble. Council preapproved the $86,500. The plan is to test wells, beach drains, the lake, and the river for E. Coli and a few other biological and chemical parameters. The $86,500 will not cover testing for whether any E. Coli or other indicator found is from humans or from other sources. The testing will not tell whether any E. Coli found is from septic systems.

I believe the $86,500 testing is a total waste of taxpayers money because we already have sufficient decision making E. Coli data on the lake, the river, wells/sand points and even the groundwater below the beach.

Some of the data that we already have is summarized in the report from the Sauble Sewers Parallel Committee at:

Furthermore, the data is more than adequate to support the parallel committee report conclusion that there is “No Scientific Evidence Of A Human Waste Management Problem Warranting Communal Sewers” at Sauble.

Craig Gammie