The $45 Censorship Saga - Alcyonenews

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Islands Trust
Posted July 31, 2017

The $45 Censorship Saga

On July 4, 2017, I addressed  the Salt Island (“SSI”) Local Trust Committee (“LTC”) “Re: Information unduly withheld” by the Trust. They have been violating my civil rights “automatically”, serially, targeting me specifically which adds the dimension of discrimination to the other facets of the Trust’s ill-conduct. Of utmost significance is the Trust’s steadfast refusal  to follow due  process and their propensity to ride roughshod over  established principles of governance. To this day my pleas for due process, the Trust answers with silence, obviously  it being the best they can do for themselves. Then,  knowing that they do the wrong thing, they “censor” their own doings, to evade the consequences of their malfeasance.

Thus stonewalled, in 2015, I thought I would file a FOI (Freedom Of Information access request) to expose  that they had not legitimate reason to do what they were, and are, doing.  The FOI venue was appropriate because the charges against a citizen are “personal information” coming under the purview of the FOI Act beside offending other laws, up to and  including the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  

In one of her often wild interpretations of the Act, the FOI-designate office of the Trust, Ms. Carmen Thiel, personally  ‘ruled’ that the reasons for  which the Trust punishes me, are no ‘personal information’ and, therefore, I must pay if I want to know why the Trust hits me.  She set the price of their accusations at a  modest $45.

It was easy to refute Thiel’s contention and this I did. Thiel fell silent, or if you will “invoked the Fifth” as they say South of the Border.

While the $45 is not an insurmountable roadblock, the principles involved are of paramount concern. It would be a very sad day if it ever happens, that the magistrates can penalize us, the people,  at will and then make us buy from them the explanation for the pain they have caused us. It is of utmost importance that we do not succumb to being punished without due process, for when “justice” hided,  justice is not done.

My last, as yet unanswered request for the subject information was posed on July 4, 2017.

Oppressor oppress to the max they think they can get away with ...

The following excerpt from an internal communication was  “leaked” as a cover up of complicity in the making of the "Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee Meeting Procedures Bylaw No. 391, 2004",  alias Trust Censorship Bylaw,  is the following message then RPM Hartley “circulated”, at the dawn of a day, to wash her hands Pontious Pilate fashion and portray herself  as “the personification of moderation”:

From:  Leah Hartley
Send:  Wednesday, November 06, 2013 5:57 AM
To:   Carmen Thiel; Pauline Brazier ; David Marlor
cc:     Linda Adams

Subject: RE: Proposed DRAFT Amendement Options to the Salt Spring Island Local Trust Committee Procedures Bylaw

Hello Carmen

Thank you for circulating.  I will aim for the Victoria office this afternoon at 3:15 pm and I can discuss if there are outstanding questions . In meantime, it asppears that I am not able to open the two options through my connection this morning. In terms of the two options, I think that generally the LTC meetings are running well over last three years so Option 2 might just be the sense of formality to the way that the meetings are being held. This provides protection should LTC receive challenge when conducting the meetings in a manner that work well. Even the recent decision not to print some delegation material seems well respected by the membvers of public present.  Thus our objective may be to legitimize current procedures rather than introducing much change other than the requested electronic meetings.

I will come to look at the two options this afternoon. However, we are also at agenda deadline and the matter will be well discussed at LTC next week so please proceed without my comments as needed to meet deadline today.


The “much change” was the censorship “Bylaw 391", sired by Trustee Grove, at the August 26, 2013 meeting (Grove & Hartley v. Varzeliotis),  where Grove called on Hartley to do something so they would not have to face questions such “Why should  the Hartley Report on Booth Canal be excempt from a review?” Which question Varzeliotis was asking in response to the Hartley & Grove demand that he withdraw his Review of the Hartley Report on Booth Canal”.

The “requested electronic meetings” was the proverbial lamb skin they added to censorship bylaw after I went public against the brutal bylaw they were making to “empower” themselves to silence critics, to escape accountability.

Evidently, cream-pie hurling is what “they” were expecting ...

The Trust communicates

It was Ms. Claire Olivier who responded for the LTC to my  July 4, 2017  request and did it promptly, the same day I requested it.  She conveyed a copy of the  May 25,  2015 Thiel  letter. To make it stick, I presume, Olivier points out  to me that since I had not appealed Thiel’s assertion to FOI Commissioner within the 30 days allowed, Thiel’s “opinion”, stands!

Another interesting item in Thiel’s letter is her reference to the “Adopted Minutes of the SSI LTC Meeting of July 24, 2014".  That was when the LTC went behind closed doors to boost the Trust censorship apparatus, by adding  that henceforth the LTC would answer public submissions, correspondence, or request to be heard,  only if it pleases the Trustees. The “decision” and it’s making were done behind the back of the Public, in violation of the Local Government Act and fundamental principles and conventions of Democratic governance.  Such is the stuff and the conduct that earned the Trust  the “Czarismatic” characterization.

The Trust people, pretend that they cannot comprehend that it is the breach of a bylaw, and not the existence of the bylaw, that justifies consequences therefrom. Yet it is a simple and straightforward concept that any child of school age understands, or did in the era of strap-wielding schoolmasters.

On July 6, I responded to Olivier  explaining things to her, once again. I reiterated the reasons for which I am entitled to that FOI response free of “fee” and that therefore, I would expect the “response to it”  be handed to me, as I had requested.

This drew a response from Mr. Stefan Cermak, who is in charge of the SSI Trust Office. Evidently the LTC had decided,  in hiding again, to continue with the “official line”, tantamount to pretending believing the Flat Earth “theory”. That is to say, insisting that the Trust can trample citizens civil rights, at their pleasure, and if the victims want to know why he/she is politically mugged, he must pay for whatever sophistry the Trust may decide to sell the victim.

My reaction was to file a supplement to my July 4, 2017 correspondence to the LTC so as to draw out the complicity of the Trustees to the condemnable conduct of the Staff. and this I did on July 11.

Do I need say that the Trust censored my submissions? Of course they did. I do not think they are fond of the “Fifth”, but they deem it the only option they have,  it appears. They had, of course  nothing about this  “correspondence”  mentioned in  the meeting Agenda, certainly nothing of my commission, but were lying-by-omission, because it is easier to hide it from the public.

I persisted. To the LTC Meeting of that day I brought in the following message through the Tom’s TownHall Placard, summarizing this latest exhange, seeking relief. Here it is:

   “Trust Mannerism

After making me file a FOI on April 14, 2015 for the reasons you have been trampling my civil rights,  you demand I pay $45 for that information.

Recently I asked for that, once again and you answer me with a copy of a May 25, 2015 letter, from  Carmen Thiel, the FOI-designate Trust Officer, who “explains” that the reason for which the Trust “penalized” me, [is that the subject of my FOI] is not “personal information” and, therefore, I must pay $45 if I  wish to know why I get the “strap”  from the Trust.

I refuted Thiel’s strange logic, and you came back with a copy of Chair Luckham’s May 21, 2015 epistle  insinuating that the reasons the Trust denies my civil rights is that my submissions fall into one  or more of the following “offences”: “defamatory, profane or otherwise inappropriate for general circulation” categories.  But Luckham would neither say which of these I offend nor how I did that.  As if he has never heard about citizens being innocent until proven guilty. It all crescendoed with the following message from Stefan Cermak, Commander of the Trusts’s forces in the SaltSpring Colony:

 “Showing up at the Salt Spring Island office will not change the opinion of staff. Further, as manager of the office, I am bound to ensure a harassment free workplace.  I will accept expressing difference of opinions and offering of constructive feedback; I will not however, permit any signs of bullying or harassment.”

Would the Trust consider making things right?

Tom Varzeliotis, Citizen”

2017 July 20: LTC Meeting Highlights:

1.   Luckham pronounced “correct” Cermak’s bile saying he was simply defending the Trust Staff against  “bullying or harassing” by Big Bad Tom.

2.   Luckham was unable to identify any conceivable basis on which Cermak could have based his threatening and insulting me. But he kept on chanting his support of  Cermak,  insulting propriety and the public.

3.        As a reminder, Luckham has proclaimed me “Public Enemy Numero Uno” and brag that the Trust protects the Salt Spring Society from me.  Yes he did, both in voice and print ...

4.   After reading my message in the Placard which I made available to the Trust prior to commencement of the afternoon session, Cermac departed the meeting Hall so that he would not be called on to explain his doings.

5.  In the recent past the Trust had been decking the Lions Hall with 11 x 17 inch “Meeting Decorum” posters, intended to intimidate citizens.  They had started by taping one poster on the glass of the entry door to the Hall. Then, added a second poster on the information table located by the Hall washrooms. But still were feeling insecure and had  escalated the “information spreading”, again, by hanging a third poster on the projector table, mis-directed at the the public instead of facing the LTC side, as arguably it should have been. Then, again without provocation, continued by affixing one  on the podium alongside the holder of the presenters speaking notes.  Very ugly, grossly insulting the public.

On the July 20, 2017 LTC meeting, the Trust surprised all and sundry with a poster-clean Hall.  What a small but blessed relief this was.

The removal of the “behave or else” posters were the results of the July 11, 2017 submission, (censored), which I had filed subsequent to Cermak’s atrocious July 6 email.

6.  There was also some noticeable moderation in the Chairman’s lingo which is also welcome after his frequent run-away logorrhea which is displeasing to the ear.

7. It was only after the end of my presentation that Trustee Grams,  counting on Luckham’s protection, voiced the bit about me going to the ombudsperson, if I believe that the Trust conduct violates the law.  As expected by Grams et al, Luckham would not let me respond to that cliché.

Tom Varzeliotis.

Submitted, of course for Information of the public

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