Meng and the SVJI: Parallel Cases?


Meng WanzhouThe ongoing case against Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou has an odd parallel in Collingwood. Our own petty, revenge-obsessed council’s threats to sue people who caused no harm nor have ever been charged with a crime has an echo in a comment made during Meng’s recent extradition hearings. 

Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said she was “skeptical of the validity of the United States’ claim,” according to the report, and commented something worth quoting.

Of course, many local people are also skeptical of Mayor Saunderson’s claims about the events of 2011-2012. Well, about pretty skeptical of all of his claims, but let’s stick with this issue. And people are very skeptical of any value received for the more than $10 million spent since 2015, while our streets and sidewalks are crumbling, the terminals rot, and local businesses and workers hurt by the lockdowns have received no financial support from the town. So here’s the quote.

In a recent Reuters’ story titled, “Canadian judge questions arguments for Huawei CFO’s extradition as hearings enter final days”, the judge is quoted as saying (emphasis added):

“Isn’t it unusual that one would see a fraud case with no actual harm, many years later, and one in which the alleged victim – a large institution – appears to have numerous people within the institution who had all the facts that are now said to have been misrepresented?” Holmes asked.

No actual harm, many years later? You’d almost think she was talking about the $10-million-plus-wasting Saunderson Vindictive Judicial Inquiry (aka the SVJI), which looked at processes and policies (it was NOT a criminal inquiry regardless of what the Facebook trolls say) involved in events that took place in 2011 and 2012. Many, many years ago. And the harm? The town got a great strategic partnership with a superb electricity utility and two new recreational facilities at no cost to the taxpayers. And no one broke any laws!

But, of course, our revenge-obsessed council continues to lavish taxpayers’ money on it because their Great Leader demands it of them. To hell with the needs of residents and the community, as long as his personal vendetta is seen to.

And also similarly, in the Meng trial, taxpayers’ money is going to make lawyers rich, but will not benefit the community regardless of the outcome. That’s just like in our own  SVJI. In our case, however, a lot of taxpayers’ money is going to Mayor Saunderson’s and Councillor Hamlin’s former employers, who were sole-sourced, and appointed without even a nod to the requirements of the town’s procurement bylaw or the recommendations against apparent conflicts in the SVJI itself! But the rules always apply to others, not them, right? Such hypocrisy, such blatant corruption.

And yet the media simply ignore it, just as they do council’s many ongoing blatant conflicts of interest. Perhaps that’s why local media has so little credibility (not to mention pandering to the mayor of the town that pays tens of thousands of dollars to advertise in one of them*…).

Collingwood deserves better.


* Even after numerous searches, I could not find the costs of the town’s newspaper ads in the 2021 budget. Nor in the 2020 budget. Why are they being hidden from the public? Something the town doesn’t want to disclose because it might underscore the close relationship between local media and local politicians?

However, I did see that information technology now costs taxpayers almost $850,000. Before Saunderson and his cronies privatized our public electricity utility last term, we shared services with Collus: it used to cost the town about $140,000-$150,000 for IT services. Now it’s almost six times that amount. Add that difference to the costs of the SVJI, too. And imagine what damage Saunderson will do to your provincial services if he gets elected as MPP!

And then I came across this in a novel I was reading:

“I know very well that success is not always the reward of talent and that it depends, in large measure, on flattery and deception and on the ability to promote one’s cause.”
Casanova in a letter to Henriette, from Casanova in Bohemia, by Andrei Codrescu (p. 83, Free Press, 2002)

You’d almost think he was writing about our own mayor, wouldn’t you? But let’s not digress.

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Ian Chadwick
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