A Message from Niagara citizen Ed Smith to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Board of Directors

Posted by NAL publisher Doug Draper on Niagara At Large, January 19th, 2017

Niagara citizen Ed Smith delivers his message to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority's board of directors

Niagara citizen Ed Smith delivers his message to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s board of directors

This January 18th, 2017, Niagara citizen Ed Smith, who has been slapped with a $200,000 lawsuit by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority and its former CAO Carmen D’Angelo, stood before the NPCA’s board and delivered the following address to them – one that we, as citizens in a democracy, all need to read.

By the way, the NPCA board approved a motion to have an audit done on its operations. Niagara At Large will post a news commentary on that development and what further needs to be done to reclaim this Conservation Authority for the people of this region this coming January 20th. Stay tuned.

Now here are Ed Smith’s words to this board

“Ladies and gentlemen: 

Public trust.

Whatever trust the public places in its officials must be respected. Under the right circumstances the loss of public trust can mean the loss of the right to govern, in a healthy democracy public trust is foundational.

Quoting the Conservation Authorities Act the mandate of the Conservation Authority is: “To establish and undertake programs designed to further the conservation, restoration, development and management of natural resources.”

The Conservation Authority is our advocate for the environment in the Niagara Peninsula, as well as parts of Hamilton and Haldimand County.

As our publicly trusted advocates for the environment the NPCA has done the following in the past 2-3 years · Promoted experimentation with biodiversity offsetting in one of Niagara’s most important natural heritage locations, in spite of no scientific peer review documents or other forms of proof that it can be done.

A move that appears to be motivated more for the benefit of the developers who would like to build on the site then it is founded in any concern for Niagara’s Green future.

· Violated provincial and NPCA policy by hiring members of the Board to senior management positions. Although they were on leave, they were still members of this Board. ·

Awarding a $41,000 cheque to a sitting member while on leave of absence from the Board, for reasons not clearly defined anywhere.

· Released fully one third of the staff and replaced them with people of undefined qualifications. Many of them with some close relations to Board members or senior management.

· Demonstrated a perceived reluctance or refusal to pursue serious cases of environmental wrong doing perpetrated by developers in the Region.

· Demonstrated a perceived great deal of zeal in pursuing much smaller environmental infractions that involve individual citizens or small landowners.

· Spent untold hundreds of thousand, perhaps much more, of taxpayer dollars engaged in legal battles and severance package settlements. Money that could have been spent on environmental stewardship programs.

· Spent 10’s of thousands, if not hundred’s of thousands of taxpayer dollars to hire a lobbyist.

An agency of our government spent our tax dollars to hire a lobbyist to lobby our government. For these reasons, and many other examples I could list, I put to you that this Board and the senior management of the NPCA has shaken the public trust to its core.

The true strength of democracy is the governing policies and laws that define it, coupled with the ability and willingness of the institutions of society to uphold them.

This Board and senior management have chosen a path for the NPCA that flies directly in the face of its provincial mandate and by so doing has violated the public trust that is enshrined in your appointments.

The great thing about trust is that it can be rebuilt and it can start today. The motion that will be discussed, and the wording of any motion that is voted on is a crucially important first step in that rebuilding.

The actions of this meeting will be heavily scrutinized and judgments will be passed. I beg of you, do the right thing.

Today, for this small moment in time, I beg of you, do the right thing.

Today, for this small moment in time, the power is yours.

Do the right thing and let the rebuilding of public trust begin.

Martin Luther King: “To passively accept an unjust system is to co-operate with that system, and hereby to become a participant in its evil.

” I choose not to participate!”

NIAGARA AT LARGE encourages you to join the conversation by sharing your views on this post in the space below the Bernie quote.

A reminder that we only post comments by individuals who also share their first and last names.

For more news and commentary from Niagara At Large – an independent, alternative voice for our greater binational Niagara region – become a regular visitor and subscriber to NAL at www.niagaraatlarge.com .

 “A politician thinks of the next election. A leader thinks of the next generation.” – Bernie Sanders

 

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3 responses to “A Message from Niagara citizen Ed Smith to the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority’s Board of Directors

  1. Mr Smith is very eloquent. Any agency that is being truly responsible to its employers….that would be US…. has nothing to fear, should be willing, eager and easily able to withstand public scrutiny. Quite simple really.

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  2. To have been there, sitting so close, listening to the pearls of wisdom that rose much as a crescendo of truth and purpose from the speaker’s dais. while listening in awed silence as Mr. Smith voice reverberated through out the small auditorium and brought to light the grievances that spoke of deceit, conniving, corruption and malfeasance by the NPCA against the taxpaying citizens who fund the Authority. Mr. Smith’s questioning of the acts and actions of the NPCA Board and Executive brought attention to him in the form of threats, more threats and finally a law suit from the NPCA Lawyers.
    In finalizing his passionate stand the summarized his hopes in these few sentences.

    Today, for this small moment in time, I beg of you, do the right thing.
    Today, for this small moment in time, the power is yours.
    Do the right thing and let the rebuilding of public trust begin.

    and finally
    He chose to quote the words of the late Martin Luther King a patriot who was murdered as he peacefully attempted to foster trust between the races in the U.S.of A.

    Martin Luther King: “To passively accept an unjust system is to co-operate with that system, and hereby to become a participant in its evil.

    ” I choose not to participate!”

    His words galvanized the multitude of Citizens in attendance and thunderous applaud, whistles and vocal appreciation filled the auditorium against the backdrop of the Board Chairman attempting to quell the appreciative noise.

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  3. Gail Benjafield

    Thank you Ed Smith, Doug, and now Mr. Sommers for telling us what it was like to be there. I know one of my St. Catharines Regional Councillors told me she would attend. Your description says much, Mr. Sommers, and there is a huge swell of relief for so many of us. As Smith has said before, these are but ‘small steps’ but mean so much.

    Like

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