Robertson-Meggs case

NOTE: The five citizen Petitioners in this case have set up a dedicated website for background, media, audio/video, plus the April 17, 2015 court ruling and response statement.

Robertson Meggs Citizens Case – https://robertsonmeggscitizenscase.wordpress.com/

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Updated: 14-April-2015

1. BASICS

Case: Helten and others v. Robertson and Meggs (Supreme Court of British Columbia Action No. S149646)

Hearing info: The hearing took place over two days, on March 31 and April 1, 2015. The presiding judge was Mr. Justice Elliott Myers.

Petitioners (5):  Randal Helten, Albert Chin, Terry Glenn Morden (a.k.a. Terry Glenn Martin), Richard Nantel, Virginia Richards. Represented by David Wotherspoon, Fasken Martineau. They are funded by donations from scores of concerned citizens.

Respondents (2): Gregor Robertson, Geoff Meggs. Represented by Brian G. Baynham (Harper Grey LLP). It is believed that they are funded by the Vision Vancouver party.

Media coverage: For our comprehensive list of coverage just before, during, and after the hearing, click here.

Meggs-Robertson conflict of interest case gets at ‘core of our democracy,’ petitioners say” (by Sam Cooper, The Province, 28-March-2015)
http://www.theprovince.com/technology/Meggs+Robertson+conflict+interest+case+gets+core+democracy+petitioners/10928822/story.html

“Freelancer says Vancouver Mayor Robertson, Coun. Meggs ‘not genuine’ in changing their tune on incriminating recording” (by Sam Cooper, The Province, 26-March-2015)
http://www.theprovince.com/news/Freelancer+says+Vancouver+Mayor+Robertson+Coun+Meggs/10923190/story.html

In this 2.5 minute video, The Province newspaper’s Sam Cooper explains three key points of the upcoming March 31 Supreme Court hearing for disqualification of Mayor Gregor Robertson and Councillor Geoff Meggs.
http://www.theprovince.com/news/Vancouver+Mayor+Gregor+Robertson+Coun+Geoff+Meggs+take+tack+conflict+allegations/10916238/story.html

B.C. Supreme Court: http://www.courts.gov.bc.ca/supreme_court/

2. ORDERS SOUGHT (excerpt):

1. A declaration that the Respondent, Gregor Robertson, is not qualified to hold the office of mayor of the City of Vancouver,
2. A declaration that the Respondent, Geoff Meggs, is not qualified to hold the office of councillor of the City of Vancouver;
3. An order that the candidate for mayor who received the next highest number of valid votes is elected in place of Gregor Robertson;
4. An order that the candidate for councillor who received the next highest number of valid votes is elected in place of Geoff Meggs;
5. In the alternative, a declaration that the Respondents are as a result of the facts in a conflict of interest and cannot participate in the negotiations with CUPE Local 1004 directly or indirectly and cannot vote on any proposed collective agreement

3. CHRONOLOGY

2015

December: CUPE 1004 current contract with CoV expires

31-Mar and 1-Apr: Hearing for this case in B.C. Supreme Court. Justice Elliott Myers heard the case and reserved judgement. The date of decision announcement is not known, and difficult to predict.

Feb: From campaign finance disclosure statements,Vision Vancouver collected $1.92 million from corporations and $625,448 from individuals during 2014 alone (election year,other years are NOT reported). Unions gave over $360,000. The single largest donation ($230,900) to Vision was from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and its related locals that represent city workers.

2014

20-Nov: Story in Vancouver Courier (see below). Meggs did not deny his words on the recording: “I went to a meeting at the request of the union, I told them our position and they made a later decision without my presence that wound up supporting us.”

7-Nov: NPA holds news conference, LaPointe responds to lawsuit. Vows not to back down. Accuses Vision Vancouver of bullying. See video.

6-Nov: Vision files defamation lawsuit (same day an internal poll claims LaPointe was only four per cent behind Robertson.) LaPointe calls the Vision lawsuit a ploy to restrict freedom of speech.

Date?: CUPE files defamation lawsuit and holds press conference. See video.

27-Oct: Robertson, in an Oct. 27 story, said Councillor Meggs “was just stating the obvious and our track record to date and commitment to date to continue with that practice.”

26-Oct: Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver Campaign Debate. Candidate Kirk LaPointe questions Mayor Robertson.

14-Oct:  CUPE 1004 meeting. Meggs tells members of CUPE Local 1004 that Robertson “has again recommitted to not expand contracting out, to make sure that wherever we can bring in new processes, that members of 1004 will be delivering those services.” CUPE rep says the goal “to carry favour with Vision in the next round of negotiations which… are coming up, but also not give them the whole pie. Our support is not unconditional.” Location: Maritime Labour Centre Auditorium. Result: $34,000 donation from the Local and matching funds from CUPE’s B.C. and national offices for a total of $102,000. A confidential source gave the Courier three digital audio files of the meeting totaling 77 minutes and 48 seconds on Oct. 14. Neither Vision nor CUPE contested the authenticity of two clips that were posted with the Courier’s story published Oct. 16.

4. MEDIA

Reverse chronological order (newest at top)

Meggs-Robertson conflict of interest case gets at ‘core of our democracy,’ petitioners say” (by Sam Cooper, The Province, 28-March-2015)
http://www.theprovince.com/technology/Meggs+Robertson+conflict+interest+case+gets+core+democracy+petitioners/10928822/story.html

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, Coun. Geoff Meggs take new tack on conflict allegations” (by Sam Cooper, The Province, 24-Mar-2015). PDF: . Direct link online: Robertson, Meggs take new tack, Sam Cooper, The Province, 24-Mar-2015. Direct link: http://www.theprovince.com/Vancouver+Mayor+Gregor+Robertson+Coun+Geoff+Meggs+take+tack+conflict+allegations/10916238/story.html

Mayor Robertson and Coun. Meggs resist attempt to eject them from office,” Bob Mackin, Vancouver Courier, JANUARY 23, 2015 03:00 PM. PDF: Mayor Robertson and Coun Meggs resist, Van Courier, Bob Mackin, 23-Jan-2015. Link: http://www.vancourier.com/vancouver-votes/opinion/opinion-backpedalling-mayor-undermines-geoff-meggs-1.1489345

Randy Helten won’t reveal who’s paying for his legal challenge against Mayor Gregor Robertson, by Charlie Smith on Dec 12, 2014 at 5:13 pm, http://www.straight.com/blogra/788911/randy-helten-wont-reveal-whos-paying-his-legal-challenge-against-mayor-gregor-robertson

Residents try to oust Vancouver mayor, councillor over union donation,” by Emily Jackson, 14-Dec-2014. Vancouver Metro:
http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/1239083/residents-try-to-oust-vancouver-mayor-councillor-over-union-donation/

Petition wants Gregor Robertson, Geoff Meggs deemed unfit for office By Sam Cooper, The Province December 13, 2014
http://www.theprovince.com/business/Petition+wants+Gregor+Robertson+Geoff+Meggs+deemed+unfit+office/10464612/story.html

Petition seeks Robertson, Meggs ouster over union donation, Bob Mackin / Vancouver Courier, December 12, 2014 01:23 PM
http://www.vancourier.com/news/petition-seeks-robertson-meggs-ouster-over-union-donation-1.1663730

If this legal petition succeeds, Kirk LaPointe will replace Gregor Robertson as Vancouver mayor: Former mayoral candidate Randal Helten behind court petition contesting municipal election results, by Carlito Pablo on Dec 12, 2014 at 3:02 pm, http://www.straight.com/news/788826/if-legal-petition-succeeds-kirk-lapointe-will-replace-gregor-robertson-vancouver-mayor

“I thought it was corrupt” says petitioner about CUPE’s $102K donation to Vision, by Bob Mackin, December 12, 2014 (provides excerpts and links to petition, plus affidavits by the five elector-petitioners, and more), http://bobmackin.ca/?p=2213

LaPointe strikes back against Vision lawsuit: Defence statement says corruption allegations were fair comment, covered by freedom of expression (Bob Mackin blog, 14-Nov-2014)
http://bobmackin.ca/?p=2078

CUPE, Vision don’t want you to hear their cash-and-votes talk: Censored by YouTube, blog knocked off (by Bob Mackin, 14-Nov-2014)
http://bobmackin.ca/?p=2064

Mayor Gregor Robertson, Geoff Meggs pursuing lawsuit against NPA,” (Mike Howell / Vancouver Courier, November 20, 2014). PDF: Mayor Gregor Robertson, Geoff Meggs pursuing lawsuit against NPA, Mike Howell, Van Courier, 20-Nov-2014

Link:: http://www.vancourier.com/news/mayor-gregor-robertson-geoff-meggs-pursuing-lawsuit-against-npa-1.1601310

NEW: Baker on Vancouver: It’s Not How It Looks (It’s Worse). (7-Nov-2014) Detailed analysis by municipal lawyer Jonathan Baker, with many links. Recommended reading: http://jonathan-baker.blogspot.ca/2014/11/its-not-how-it-looks.html. PDF: Baker on Vancouver, ITS NOT HOW IT LOOKS (It’s worse) re CUPE1004, 7-Nov-2014

“Opinion: Backpedalling mayor undermines Geoff Meggs,” Allen Garr / Columnist, Vancouver Courier, October 30, 2014 04:31 PM. Download PDF: Opinion_Backpedalling mayor undermines Geoff Meggs, Van Courier, 30-Oct-2014, Allen Garr.
Direct web link: http://www.vancourier.com/vancouver-votes/opinion/opinion-backpedalling-mayor-undermines-geoff-meggs-1.1489345

Excerpt of “Opinion: Backpedalling… ” — As the Sun’s Jeff Lee reported, now the mayor says Meggs was doing the bidding of Vision and he is “a key member of the Vision team” as well as their lead on labour issues. In fact, Robertson observed, Meggs’ comment to Local 1004 that the mayor would “recommit” to not expanding contracting out was totally in line with Vision’s longstanding position, one that has been in place since 2008 when Vision first came to power.

Vancouver Election 2014: Vision Vancouver Sells Out Taxpayers For Big Labour Money” by Jordan Batement, Canadian Taxpayers Federation, in Huffington Post, 29-Oct-2014: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/jordan-bateman/vancouver-election-2014-vision-taxpayers_b_6068994.html

“Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson denies allegations of corruption” by Jeff Lee, Vancouver Sun, 28-Oct-2014. Download PDF: Vancouver Mayor denies allegations corruption, Jeff Lee, V Sun, 28-Oct-2014. Direct web link: http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Vancouver+Mayor+Gregor+Robertson+denies+allegations+corruption/10329577/story.html.

Excerpt of “Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson denies…” — “In statements after a press conference Monday where Vision reissued its public education platform, Robertson sought to clarify the context of the recording, as well as comments he made appearing to distance himself from Meggs. In Sunday’s mayoral debate LaPointe asked him if he was proud of what his councillor had pledged to the union. Robertson said “he’s not my councillor.” But now the mayor says Meggs was doing the bidding of Vision and that he is a “key member of our Vision team” as well as lead on labour issues. Robertson categorically rejected the NPA’s suggestion that Vision was trading public money for party favours. He also rejected reporters’ questions about whether Vision’s six-year opposition to contracting out was based on any previous promises the party may have given civic unions. “Absolutely not. Absolutely not. No,” Robertson insisted.”

Vancouver mayor defends against allegation of ‘corrupt’ deal with union” (Emily Jackson, 27-Oct-2014, Vancouver Metro):
http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/1195844/vancouver-mayor-defends-against-allegation-of-corrupt-deal-with-union/ Include photo of mayoral debate at Langara College on Oct. 22. Links to other articles.

“Vision Vancouver wins union campaign funding,” Bob Mackin / Vancouver Courier, October 16, 2014 03:20 PM.
PDF: Vision Vancouver wins union campaign funding, Mackin, Vancouver Courier, 16-Oct-2014

Link: http://www.vancourier.com/vancouver-votes/election-news/vision-vancouver-wins-union-campaign-funding-1.1429401

BOB MACKIN BLOG

LaPointe strikes back against Vision lawsuit
http://bobmackin.ca/?p=2078

CUPE, Vision don’t want you to hear their cash-and-votes talk
http://bobmackin.ca/?p=2064

5. AUDIO

Leaked recording of CUPE Local 1004’s monthly meeting, 14-Oct-2014. 4:50. 

The goal, she said, is “to carry favour with Vision in the next round of negotiations which… are coming up, but also not give them the whole pie. Our support is not unconditional.”

Above was published on Oct 24, 2014: A leaked audio clip from the Oct. 14, 2014 CUPE Local 1004 (City of Vancouver outside workers) meeting. This recording is provided in the public interest. Please see “Vision Vancouver wins union campaign funding” in the Vancouver Courier newspaper:http://www.vancourier.com/vancouver-v…

Two files are combined into one and can be heard at this Vimeo link. (9:43) http://vimeo.com/111823102

6. VIDEO

Kirk LaPointe grills Gregor Robertson on Vision’s Cash for Favours Deal
NPA Vancouver, 1:16, Published on Oct 27, 2014

Kirk LaPointe responds to Vision Vancouver lawsuit
NPA Vancouver, 5:36, Published on Nov 9, 2014

“He is not my Councillor” – Mayor Robertson on Councillor Meggs

Randy Chatterjee video (1:28)

Published on Oct 27, 2014. At the Christ Church Cathedral Vancouver Campaign Debate on Sunday 26 October, candidate Kirk LaPointe asks Mayor Robertson whether there was any quid pro quo between Vision and union leaders with regard to union contributions and future city fiscal policy. This 1 1/2 minute video clip covers the question and response.

Below: CUPE announces defamation lawsuit against NPA. Lawyer Leo McGrady did most of the talking. Bob Mackin did most of the asking. Very important.

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7. OTHER STUFF

Nov. 6

CUPE discussion/vote

https://twitter.com/bobmackin/status/530544169346142209

Vision presentation

https://twitter.com/bobmackin/status/530543940861440001

Nov. 13

https://twitter.com/bobmackin/status/533068057569406976

Nov. 14

https://www.facebook.com/bobmackin/posts/10152842291304894?pnref=story

8. DONATE

Cheques to help defray legal costs can be sent payable to “Fasken Martineau” (“in trust”).
Mail to David Wotherspoon, Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, 2900 – 550 Burrard Street, Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 0A3
Instructions: “For deposit into trust account, petition on Robertson/Meggs disqualification”

9. LEGALITIES

This case before the B.C. Supreme Court is not a lawsuit, but a “petition” asking the Court to review the facts and determine whether Robertson and Meggs were in a conflict of interest. The relevant legislation for this particular case is the Vancouver Charter, which is unique to this city. The petitioners did not pursue other levels of legislation such as the Criminal Code of Canada, but we copy some relevant text here, for reference. Under the Criminal Code, it is a criminal offence to offer a campaign contribution and say it is conditional on future council votes. Crime carries a maximum five year jail term.

Criminal Code of Canada Section 123

Municipal corruption

123. (1) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years who directly or indirectly gives, offers or agrees to give or offer to a municipal official or to anyone for the benefit of a municipal official — or, being a municipal official, directly or indirectly demands, accepts or offers or agrees to accept from any person for themselves or another person — a loan, reward, advantage or benefit of any kind as consideration for the official

(a) to abstain from voting at a meeting of the municipal council or a committee of the council;

(b) to vote in favour of or against a measure, motion or resolution;

(c) to aid in procuring or preventing the adoption of a measure, motion or resolution; or

(d) to perform or fail to perform an official act.
Marginal note:Influencing municipal official

(2) Every one is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years who influences or attempts to influence a municipal official to do anything mentioned in paragraphs (1)(a) to (d) by

(a) suppression of the truth, in the case of a person who is under a duty to disclose the truth;

(b) threats or deceit; or

(c) any unlawful means.

Definition of “municipal official”

(3) In this section, “municipal official” means a member of a municipal council or a person who holds an office under a municipal government.

R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 123;
R.S., 1985, c. 27 (1st Supp.), s. 16;
2007, c. 13, s. 6.

 

11. FOR RESEARCHERS

Elections BC’s Searchable Financial Reports and Political Contributions System
In the Financial Reports and Political Contributions System (FRPC), you can review and print images of the financial reports filed with Elections BC under the Election Act, the Recall and Initiative Act and the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act. You are also able to search for the names of contributors who gave more than $250 of political contributions under the Election Act in a reporting period.

http://contributions.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/pcs/

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