This is a succinctly reasoned request. That is to say, if “fact checkers” were legitimate, which they are not – the breed was generically engineered by the 3EOs.
To begin with, let’s look at the YES group literature. Their dominant “reasoning” is that their position is supported by the“facts” produced by UrbanS. But this is what the NO- group protest. The NO group simply seek respect for their civil right to challenge the “facts” on which the YES-group and the 3EOs want to make us base our decision on.
If the Inquisition’s faith in the “fact” about the Earth being motionless was correct, Galileo might deserve what the Inquisition meted (almost) out to him; in parallel, if the UrbanS “facts” are true, we deserve what the 3EOs and the YES group have in store for us. But we do not share the 3EOs professed belief in UrbanS infallibility – that is all and that is final.
Why the Panels cannot proceed without the addition of another “fact” checker? The UrbanS want to be there to protect whatever they produced and which is shaky. The mere fact that they are “Consultants” and have authored fancy reports; and that “local Committees” have ostensibly gone over the report with a fine tooth comb, on our behalf, and have determined the verity of the contents, is hard to fight in a short minute, in the heat of a debate.
The UrbanS had ample facility to tell their side of the story and they did. Do they fear that their voluminous reports and they interpretation of their reports by “our” Committees, have left the “facts” wobbly? Too bad, I for one I am not sad. They should split now and let their Reports speak for themselves. The time has come for us to sink our teeth into the facts – hence the Debates. I find it disturbing that we are forced to claim our right to do that.
Yes, UrbanS have a strong “vested interest” in passing the “facts” as being factual, so to speak. Surely they have a “vested interest” in convincing all and sundry that their Crystal Ball, is infallible. But there is more to it: UrbanS are in a strong conflict of interest in this instance because incorporation will generate a stream of lucrative consultation contracts.
Adams’ skills may be in the field of organization management. CAO’s prevail by “pulling rank” which may work well internally to organization, but it does not work externally, where people are free to speak their mind and hurl cream pies. That is why CAOs line up PRopaganda persons to suppress exterior “trouble makers” in contrast, the UrbanS specialize in persuasion.
Any way, allowing UrbanS to determine the outcome of the incorporation debate, is like getting Lawyers to evaluate no fault auto-insurance. Pairing one “fact” person with another would not launder clean that sinister system.
But why? The thrust of the NO group is clearly against the inappropriate 3EOs move to shore up the UrbanS “facts”, that which would collapse if left to stand without cratches. Suggesting Linda Adams, or anybody else for that matter, as the warrior to line up against the UrbanS was, in my view, a tactical error. The worse aspect of it is tha it sets a precedent for unscrupulous powerholders to abuse Debates to sinister ends.
This is personified nonsense speaking for itself!
It is amusing to observe the 3EOs engaging themselves precisely on that which they castigate. They have already entirely scandalously “extended” to one side, the YES group, the “privilege” they now deny the NO-group and this is morally and legally wrong.
Yes, Linda Adams, would succumb to her biases, but this is not damnable, no more than is God’s struggle to keep Paradise competitive with Hell. It is pertinent however that Adams would not pretend to be impartial, whilst UrbanS do pretend to that.
As for the 3EOs categorically pronouncing UrbanS being “demonstrably impartial insofar as they are not affected in any manner by the referendum outcome”, I will say the 3EOs got it all wrong; again. The UrbanS are indisputably partial to Incorporation; and they are in a position of conflict of interest, because Incorporation will bless them with lucrative contracts.
What are we to infer about the 3CEOs making so patently untrue pronouncements as proclaiming the UrbanS “demonstrably impartial insofar as they are not affected in any manner by the referendum outcome”? All the three of them, no one dissenting? Heavens above!
What a bouquet of meaningless words. None of the 3EOs utterances proves any thing of what they try to make us believe. There is nothing in this bouquet to sustain their assertion that UrbanS are impartial or that they are not in conflict of interest. On the contrary, this that which the 3EOs say, shows that UrbanS are aggressive hunters of contracts and certifies them been accomplished persuaders.
In any event, the UrbanS had ample facility to sustain their “facts” and were paid princely to do that. We read their reports and have found them wobbly. And we fear the damage they may have aleady done. They have put us in an uphill battle to undo the harm they may have done.
This cries out for a suggestion to at least the 2 of the 3EOs to ponder “Gnothi seauton” (Know thyself), “Look who is talking”, the “pot calls the kettle black”, and more of the same.
The 3EOs, sad to say, have by a long shot forfeited their credibility when they speak for Transparency in governance. And when they profess to affection for “transparency”, they are consciously insincere.
It would have been serving the cause of Transparency (viz. “P-10" above) if the 3EOs instead of putting the Lid on the boiling pot, had served us our just deserts, to wit a List of “anti-facts checkers” ), who made “further requests to vary the fact checker format at the Panel Discussion”. But this the 3EOs have surreptitiously denied us. Unduly disrespectfully the 3EOs, wastebasked the citizens submissions. Pity!
In a democracy respect is neither owed nor demanded, respect is earned. The citizens who dared the odds to make their voices heard, have earned my respect I honour them, irrespective of what they said and for which the 3EOs gagged them.
It is also pertinent that many Islanders feel the Ministry has been unduly pushing incorporation on us. And that people have become leery ot he never-ending introducing of the moderator, as “former minister” instead of “current consultant” – the former hides the latter and obscures the perception of conflict of interest due to his having his foot in the door for consultation “opportunities” incorporation will generate.
To begin with, “fact checker” profession is an aberration.
Then, their assertion makes one wonder whether the 3EOs are sincere and raises fears it may be so.
Notice the 3EOs conveniently forgetting to mention the $300,000 paid to UrbanS. After been paid all that money for the “facts” and and find them unsustainable, the 3EOS, should be after getting the “sales warrantee” honoured by UrbanS. If they really need a platform for bickering with citizens in the debate, something has gone seriously wrong.
“perfectly reasonable and appropriate”? Surely the 3EOs do not mince words. It is inappropriate, I suggest to line up the heavyweight UrbanS against citizens many of whom would feel as intimidated as I would if I was to face George Chuvalo, or Justing Trudeau in the a boxing ring.
Please dear Trio, heed Mitchel Sharp’s advice to be “pragmatic and realistic”; try it, you may like it.
P-1: We are writing to you in your capacity as stewards of the referendum process.
P-2: In light of recent, well documented challenges made by members of our community to the accuracy of the work presented by Urban Systems in their Final Report, we would like you to appoint a second fact checker for the August 30 Panels discussion/debate.
P-3: It is our position that the Panels cannot proceed without this addition. It is untenable that Urban Systems remain the sole arbiter of factual accuracy when they themselves have a vested interest in the outcome of decisions about what is true and what is false information. Some of the material in contention during the discussion/debate will be that which was authored by the very people charged with determining its accuracy. This is a blatant conflict of interest.
P-4: We respectfully recommend that you appoint Linda Adams to be the second fact checker. Ms. Adams is willing to assume that role. It is our view that by taking this step, you will help ensure the fairness of the proceedings.
P-5: The courtesy of a timely reply would be appreciated.
P-6: Yesterday we considered in some length the request you made in your letter of 1 August, namely to nominate Linda Adams as a second fact checker at the panels discussions.
P-7: The simple fact is that we cannot extend to one side of the incorporation lobby a privilege that we do not extend to the opposing side. So we cannot accede to Positively NO's request without offering the YESS campaign the opportunity to also nominate a fact checker. I’m sure you’ll agree that having three fact checkers is not sensible.
P-8: Whilst we have great regard for Linda Adams and recognize her abilities and her objectivity, as a resident and property owner on Salt Spring and as the former CAO of the islands Trust, she has an identifiable interest in the outcome of the incorporation result. That is not a burden Urban Systems carries. They are demonstrably impartial insofar as they are not affected in any manner by the referendum outcome.
P-9: Urban Systems are one of the foremost planning consultants in the province and have carried out scores of restructure studies. They were consultants to the 2013 Governance Review committee, the 2016 Incorporation Study committee, and to the Islands Trust in the preparation of the 2015 Islands Trust Impact Analysis and its 2016 update. They are very knowledgable in the technical and factual aspects of Salt Spring Island and in the mechanics of the two forms of governance on offer to the community in the referendum. The appointment of Urban Systems as fact checkers has the approval of the ministry and we share the ministry’s confidence in their appointment.
P-10 In the interests of transparency we will be publishing your letter of request and our response on the latest.ssiincorporation.com website.
P-11 The three elected officials have declined further requests to vary the fact checker format at the Panel Discussion. We have informed the parties concerned and provided the following reasons:
P-12 The format and structure of the panel discussion was carefully considered and has been agreed with the moderator and the ministry.
P-13 We were unanimous in the need for the fact checker to be independent, authoritative and impartial. Urban Systems meets all three requirements. Fact checkers nominated by lobbying groups do not.
P-14 The Incorporation Study Report prepared by Urban Systems and the Incorporation Study Committee was the fruit of two years work. It is an authoritative document comprising over 360 pages plus appendices and took many hundreds of hours of research to compile. It is the foundational document that the ministry believed was required to furnish the technical and factual information necessary to allow the community to make an informed decision about its future form of governance and was commissioned at considerable expense. It is right and proper that it be available at the panel discussions as a reference document and no one is more familiar with the contents of that document than its author. Accordingly, it is entirely appropriate that the consultant be present at the discussion to inform the moderator, the panels and the audience of its contents, if and when called on to do so. There is certainly no conflict of interest in Urban Systems undertaking that role.
P-15 It is perfectly reasonable and appropriate that panelists are able to present their own information and statistics at the discussions. It is then up to the Salt Spring electorate to decide whether they place faith in the contents of the formal study report or the information presented by the panelists.