Archive for November, 2020











I was contacted by CTV News in late October of 2019 regarding a CTV Investigative Research item into potential serious and illegal campaign donations received by three members of the existing Township of Langley Council plus one member that was not elected in the 2018 Municipal election. I went on air that day, as requested by CTV from a remote location for broadcast that evening. That afternoon I received a package of information that was the source of information for CTV, which I reviewed very thoroughly, found it very newsworthy and published it in this BLOG – The Link to that post follows:

I must add that in typical Langley Advance Times / Mathew Claxton fashion, their report of this serious issue is lame, pathetic but if nothing else consistent. It does not mention the fact that it was CTV’s investigative work and broadcast of the anonymous material THEY received that was the source of their investigation. I received the same package of information later that day which I made public. Mathew phoned me and asked for my source, which I denied. For the record, ALL the information I receive on any topic is guaranteed to be kept in confidence.

For your information the Langley Advance Times are paid a sum in excess of $150,000 per year by the Township of Langley for their advertising requirements, in typical fashion they are very careful as to what they provide in print; don’t upset the client! (Their two news stories are dated December 17th, 2019 & November 20th, 2020)

The result of all of this published information was an Application to the Supreme Court of British Columbia (as indicated above) by TEN (10) resident petitioners, and voters of the Township of Langley. It has been a while, mainly due to Covid-19 shutdowns, however this application will be heard by the Supreme Court of British Columbia Monday November 30th, 2020 thru to December 3rd, 2020.

I am in receipt of a copy of the “Respondents” court submission in support of their court petition to be heard on the dates above.

Excerpt from Petitioners Submissions:


113.The petitioners seek the following orders

1) A declaration that the respondents failed to disclose a direct or indirect pecuniary conflict of interest contrary to section 100 of the Community Charter.

2) A declaration that the respondents attended meetings, participated in discussions, attempted to influence voting, and/or voted in a manner contrary to s. 101(2) of the Community Charter.

3) An order pursuant to s. 111 of the Community Charter that the respondents, other than Former Councillor Quaale, are disqualified from holding office until the next general local election.

4) Costs, including special costs.

( Commentary on Petitioners Submission:

The submission by the Petitioners is detailed, very complete and in my view very compelling! This is obviously being dealt with in a court of law so the outcome cannot be judged at this point. Having said that, the Petitioners submission is some 36 pages in length which cannot be fully copied into this Blog, however we will offer some excerpts that we find are of particular interest to residents of the Township regardless of the outcome.

Excerpt from Petitioners Submissions cont’d:


  1. The petitioners seek declarations that the respondents, three sitting members of the Council of the Township of Langley (the “Township”) – including the mayor – and a former city councillor, failed to disclose pecuniary conflicts of interest contrary to the Community Charter, S.B.C., 2003, c. 26 (“Community Charter”). As a result of that failure, the petitioners say that those respondents who are currently sitting members of Council must be disqualified from their positions in office.
  2. This case is based on unprecedented (and largely undisputed) facts. In the lead-up to the 2018 municipal election, the respondents received numerous campaign contributions from multiple property developers while those same developers had applications before Council. In some cases, these contributions were received within days of the application coming before Council. Despite having received a legal opinion from the Township’s solicitor that a conflict of interest could exist if contributions were accepted while developments were “in-stream”, or if the contributions were made shortly after a development application was made, none of the respondents disclosed the contributions and sought legal advice, let alone made a declaration that they were in a conflict of interest. The respondents went on to vote in favour of each of the development applications.
  3. To the petitioners’ knowledge, this pattern of campaign contributions, with such a close temporal proximity between the contributions and votes on applications, has never come before the courts. It in turn raises an important legal issue with widespread implications for the integrity of, and public confidence in, municipal governance in this province. To date, the jurisprudence on conflicts of interest arising out of campaign contributions has held that a contribution, and a later vote in favour of an application, does not constitute a conflict of interest without “something more”. The petitioners say that, in this case, the “something more” is the pattern and temporal proximity of the contributions and voting behaviour, which would lead a reasonably informed person to conclude that the contributions might have influenced the exercise of the respondents’ duty as Council members.
  4. For their part, the respondents say that there is a much higher legal threshold, and that there must be explicit evidence that the respondents agreed to “deliver a vote” or a quid pro quo before a conflict of interest can be made out. The petitioners say that such a high threshold would be virtually impossible to meet from an evidentiary perspective and is in any event entirely inconsistent with the broad and liberal interpretation to be applied to the conflict of interest provisions in the Community Charter. The purpose of the provisions – to maintain public confidence that elected officials do not have divided loyalties – must inform the legal threshold that is to be applied by this Court. Public confidence can be undermined in circumstances short of an explicit “agreement to vote” or quid pro quo. It is also not restored by virtue of the fact that disclosure of the contributions is later required under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act, S.B.C. 2014, c. 18. It is the lack of disclosure, and the failure to seek legal advice, at the time of the votes that undermines public confidence.
  5. In this case, the circumstances – the timing of the contributions relative to votes, the sheer number of contributions, the repeated pattern of behaviour, the ignoring of legal advice, and the perceived circumvention of legislative restrictions on campaign contributions – are sufficient to give rise to a conflict of interest. If the respondents are correct, and there is no conflict of interest in this case, the democratic principle of transparency will be substantially undermined given that the voting public would have no opportunity to even know about the contributions, and the possibility of divided loyalties, at the time of the votes.

PART II. FACTS (Page 2&3)

  1. The Parties
  • The Township is not a named respondent in this Petition but was served pursuant to s. 111(5)(b) of the Community Charter. It has filed a Response to Petition and affidavit material in support of the respondents.

( Commentary on Petitioners Submission:

IMPORTANT – NOTE: The Township of Langley has filed a Response to the Petition and filed an affidavit in support of the Respondents apparently suggesting Council members only followed staff’s recommendations on the respective proposal in front of them. That in my view and experience as a former Alderman and a Mayor is an insanity defense! Staff / the Township have no way of knowing what donations have been made to elected members of Council. This does not absolve members of Council from not removing themselves from the decision or at the very least announcing a potential conflict due to the donations received. Council members are not obligated to support staff recommendations, they knew better!

The question must be asked, WHY is the Township of Langley interfering in a legal question that only affects the politically elected? They have no business in getting involved, it could reflect a bias on their part for some unknown reason, what could that be? It should be explored further, it doesn’t make any common sense.

Excerpt from Petitioners Submissions cont’d:

B The Campaign Contributions (Page 3,4,5, &6)

12. As noted at the outset, this case does not involve a single contribution from one developer and a subsequent development application by that developer. Rather, it involves numerous contributions by persons connected to a number of developers made while their development applications were before Council in the lead-up to the municipal election held on October 20, 2018.

13. In short, Mayor Froese received at least $12,600,6 Councillor Whitmarsh received at least $8,900,7 Councillor Long received at least $8,000,8 and Former Councillor Quaale received at least $7,700,9 from persons who were owners, directors, officers, executives and/or employees of the various property development companies.

14. These are significant amounts, particularly in light of the recent amendments to the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act that had come into effect.10 Those amendments capped the maximum amount an individual could contribute to a campaign to $1,200.11Further, corporations were prohibited from making campaign contributions.12

i) The developers

15. In total, at least 19 persons connected with seven property development companies made campaign contributions to the respondents. The following is a summary of the individual contributors and the development companies they are associated with:

1) “The Mitchell Group” (Mitchell Group Investments Inc.)

• Ken Mitchell (Director and Officer)

• Diane Mitchell (Director and Officer)

• Jacilyn O’Shea (Director of Development)

• Ryan O’Shea (Director of Residential development)13

2) “The Beedie Group” (The Beedie Group Developments Ltd., BDC (Langley Property) Ltd., 161884 Canada Inc.)

• Ryan Beedie (President, sole Director and Officer)

• Rob Fiorvento (Managing Partner)

• Todd Yuen (President, Industrial)

• Jason Tonin (Vice President, Land Development)14

3) “Vesta” (Vesta Properties Ltd.)

• Kent Sillars (sole Director and Officer)

• Dennis Wiemken (Senior Vice President)

• Braedon Sillars (Development Coordinator)

• Julie Sillars (owner)

  • Marlene Best (Senior Development Manager)15

4) “Lanstone” (Lanstone Homes (Murrayville) Ltd.)

• Lanson Foster (Director and sole Officer)

• John Tilstra (Director)16

5) “Infinity” (Infinity Properties Ltd.)

 • Timothy Bontkes (sole Director and Officer)17

6) “Polygon” (Polygon Homes Ltd., Polygon Union Park Homes Ltd.)

 • Scott Baldwin (Officer, Senior Vice President, Development)18

7) “Essence” (Essence Properties Inc.)

 • Kevin Dhaliwal (Director)

• Seeta Dhaliwal (Director)19

16. Persons connected to The Mitchell Group contributed a total of $10,200 to Mayor Froese, Councillor Whitmarsh, and Former Councillor Quaale.20

17. Persons connected to The Beedie Group contributed a total of $10,800 to all four respondents.21

18. Persons connected to Vesta contributed a total of $8,800 to all four respondents.22

19. Persons connected to Lanstone contributed a total of $3,200 to Mayor Froese, Councillor Whitmarsh, and Former Councillor Quaale.23

20. Persons connected to Infinity contributed a total of $2,200 to Mayor Froese, Councillor Whitmarsh, and Former Councillor Quaale.24

21. Persons connected to Polygon contributed a total of $1,200 to Mayor Froese.25

22. Persons connected to Essence contributed a total of $2,400 to Councillor Long.26

C. The timing of the contributions relative to the development applications before Council (Page 6)

23. At the same time that these campaign contributions were made, all of the developers listed above had matters before Council in which they were interested parties. Most of these matters were rezoning applications or development permit applications. The following is a list of the matters before Council at the material time:

1) The Mitchell Group: The Williams Neighbourhood Plan.27

2) The Beedie Group: Four development permit applications.28

3) Vesta: Five rezoning applications, and two different contracts with the Township.29

4) Lanstone: One rezoning/heritage alteration permit application.30

5) Infinity: One rezoning/development permit application.31

6) Polygon: One rezoning/development permit application.32

7) Essence: One rezoning/development permit application.33  

( Commentary on Petitioners Submission:

The Petitioners submissions go onto explain in detail the timing of each case before Council, the actions of each member of Council towards the respective application(s), the dates, timing and amount of donations received all supported in detail by the minutes of the Council meeting involved.

Excerpt from Petitioners Submissions cont’d:

D. The legal opinion

62. Importantly, the respondents engaged in this voting behaviour despite having received a legal opinion that doing so could constitute a conflict of interest.

63. In June 2016, the Township sought a legal opinion from Lidstone & Company as to whether campaign contributions from a developer would disqualify a council member from voting on that developer’s rezoning application. The opinion was received by Council on June 13, 2016.94 All the respondents were on Council at the time.

64. In the opinion, Don Lidstone, Q.C. advised that campaign contributions without more did not constitute a conflict of interest. In the opinion’s summary, he stated the following:

…the campaign contribution by itself does not create a conflict of interest, even if that developer later applies for a rezoning. An exception would be if a developer gives a Council member a donation when the rezoning application comes before Council.95

65. Mr.Lidstone also concluded his opinion by stating:

There could be a conflict if the Council member was personally or privately connected to the developer, if development was in-stream at the time of the election, or if the developer made a donation after the rezoning application was made. However, we understand that none of these apply in relation to the Brookswood rezoning applications.96

E. The respondents’ evidence

66. For their part, the respondents do not deny that they received any of the contributions at issue in this proceeding, nor do they deny that they participated in, and voted on the various applications without making any declarations of conflict of interest. Rather, they universally say that: (a) there was never any indication from the contributors that the contributions were made with any intention or expectation of an agreement to vote a particular way; (b) none of their votes were influenced by campaign contributions; and (c) they were always motivated to vote in the best interest of the Township.

( Summary:

The Respondents evidence above in (a) (b) and (c) is out of step when measured against numerous items of case law extensively outlined in the Petitioners Submissions. In summarizing numerous articles on case law including the Appeals Court the Petitioners state the following:

Excerpt from Petitioners Submissions cont’d:

78. Thus, three key points emerge:

1) The conflict of interest provisions are to be interpreted broadly and liberally.

2) The purpose of the provisions is to ensure that the public has confidence that their elected officials do not have divided loyalties, and therefore it does not matter whether there is any personal gain or not.

3) The test is an objective one – whether a reasonably well-informed person would conclude that the interest might influence the exercise of the public official’s duty.

( Summary Cont’d:

If you weigh the language contained in the Community Charter, if you weigh the decisions coming out of various case law examples as outlined in the Petitioners submissions, it only makes sense that these Council members plea rings hollow. That they act responsibly and honorably must be displayed by their actions (a declaration of a conflict or potential conflict of interest), not in words after the fact. Put another way – Talk is Cheap! If all one had to do was to tell a judge, just believe me, our society would be in far more trouble than is the case today.

If you wish to receive a PDF of the Petitioners submissions, reply to this email and I will send you a copy.


I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors, and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left-hand corner under recent posts.

There has been a lot of controversy in our recent provincial election, some of it written about in this BLOG. In reality there has been an underbelly of discontent in our community for years. Our just retired MLA, Rich Coleman, is and was at the center of much of it – again many of those issues we have written about.

Staunch supporters of free enterprise have, since the mid 90’s, gravitated to what they considered to be their only free enterprise political option in British Columbia, the B.C. Liberal Party. Unfortunately, that old saying, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute Power corrupts absolutely” can best be found in the make-up that provincial party and locally by extension a small Cabal of power brokers closely aligned with the Langley East Liberal Constituency Association. Obviously, not everyone associated with it, because most innocently align themselves with parties that best represent their personal philosophy. Unfortunately, in my experience many are innocently being taken for granted and have been taken for a ride for years in Langley East.

To put Megan Dykeman’s victory into an historical perspective, the constituency area which is now known as Langley East has been redistributed many times over many years. The various free enterprise options (Social Credit and then B.C. Liberal) were created out of the Delta Constituency in 1966 and certainly since that date the free enterprise option has been the party of choice, before and since in our community.

Why have we promoted the need for change, why have we endorsed Megan Dykeman and why, for the first time in my life have I endorsed, worked for, and donated to the NDP? Well, a great candidate with a strong resume, first of all, with an ideal opportunity to make a significant difference in our community. Positive change has come to the Township of Langley! Read ON-

Back just prior to the 2017 election I had received a strong favorable opinion about the NDP and its new leader from a good friend. We were able to arrange a meeting with then candidate John Horgan and had a great conversation in a two-hour meeting. I was a strong free enterprise supporter, but NEVER at any cost. The fact remains, BAD government is BAD government, left, right or center. In our view John Horgan had done a particularly good job over the last three and a half years and we feel he deserved a solid mandate for a full term.

There is a long list of wrongdoing by the B.C. Liberal Government and its members over their sixteen years in office which we will not go into detail here. Having said that, the Cullen Commission into money laundering currently underway has received some very damaging and critical public testimony against our former MLA Rich Coleman. We are not accusing anyone of anything, but we are reporting based on very recent public testimony. In the areas of property deals there is the debacles with Western Forest Products on Vancouver Island, the Little Mountain and the Burke Mountain property sales, all that carry a stench with them.

As to how our MLA’s actions have affected the Township of Langley, there are many? For our purposes today we will illustrate just a couple of examples I am personally aware of that in my view raise alarming questions.

Provincial MLAs should NOT be involved in the local politics of their constituency(s), in any way, that is IF you care about political independence and/or the potential for undue influence in your municipal government. Why? Municipalities have to be able to work with whatever Provincial Government is elected. MLAs should not be exerting pressure or influence on locally elected officials. That has happened in the Township of Langley for decades.

Over the past two decades it has reached the point where this office is not attempting to hide their endorsements, as a matter of fact they are openly flogging their endorsements.

In Langley’s case openly getting involved in who is or is not running municipally and who they will support including having candidates in for interviews. Our residents should be shocked!

In proving that we are not talking conspiracy theories here, we offer the following:

Leading up to my announcement as a candidate for Mayor in early February 2008 I requested and had a meeting with our MLA Rich Coleman which I had requested as a courtesy to introduce myself as a candidate for Mayor of the community he represented. In that meeting I received three very clear messages from Rich Coleman – 1) They are OK with the job the current Mayor is doing – 2) The CAO of the Township (Mark Bakken) is a good friend of mine and 3) You have been making noises about municipal land deals, I want you to know we are OK with them. My responses were – to #1, we are not – to #2, that is interesting and – to #3 we are not OK with it, it is bull shit, and it is going to stop. It did not take a rocket scientist to realize I would not be his first choice for Mayor, nor after that meeting, did I care.

Facetiously I ask – Who is we Rich? (to the statement made by Rich that we are OK with the Municipal land deals)

The good news? We won the Mayoral campaign that year. The bad news – Be careful what you wish for?

Further proof are some internal emails received and statements made by one local realtor Joel Schacter, good friend of Rich Coleman in an email to the realtors in his office (full content of emails in our March 2013 BLOG Post) and signatory to an RCMP complaint against me that received significant media exposure. For the record it was found to be baseless. Excerpts from those emails follow:

Schacter: I have had discussions with some of the senior management at the hall as well as our MLA Rich Coleman and 2 former mayors…. they are all suggesting Mel has the best chance of taking Green out.

A fellow realtor stated the following:

Reply to Schacter: It is likely, that most of the people in the office are not aware of your behind the scenes smear campaign against what I consider to be ………..a very intelligent, honest and fair guy who is being slammed by a bunch of self-serving idiots that have their own hidden agendas…..just like you do.

Are you scared of losing your inside connections to all of the Township and School Board real estate deals?

Pretty easy to prove my point.

In a further response:

Reply to Schacter: Why is it, that you and Rich Coleman and Mark Bakken all hang out together and scheme about how to “take out” Green??  What is it really about Rick Green that has got your collected attention?

I was told a long time ago, to find the truth……. simply follow the money.

It seems however, that you have a lot more energy than me……… as I see various political figures in your office at the end of the day……….  You seem to be very popular, so you should try closing your office blinds when nighttime arrives.

In summary: This is a great day in the Township of Langley. We now have an MLA that will truly represent the Township of Langley and the interests of all of our residents, as opposed to that of special interests. It has been a long time coming and we are excited for our communities future.

As to the B.C. Liberal Party and its future, the jury is out. The internal fights are just beginning; Do they change the name? Do they seriously undertake renewal and take a deep internal look at who and what they represent? When will they conduct a leadership contest? And one thing that to-date has not been talked about, what was the net effect of the NEW Political Campaign Financing rules. This was the first election conducted under this NEW campaign financing legislation.

Campaign Financing rules just may be the toughest hill to climb for the B.C. Liberal Party in their attempt to comeback.

The B.C. Liberals (or whatever name they use) has a long way to come back, if they do? We have seen some relevant B.C. history of a political party that has so damaged their reputation and image with the public that any thought of a come-back was a non-starter. Of course, a lot of this will depend on the performance of the NDP over the next four years, we believe they have a great opportunity if they play their cards right!


I am working on a few posts at present that I believe are of significant concern to Township of Langley Residents, come back often for news of interest to Township residents.

Protect your Democratic Rights – Protect your NEIGHBORS Democratic Rights – stay informed, stay involved and VOTE!!!

Share this BLOG; forward it to your friends, neighbors, and relatives!

To comment on this post – Click on this Post, top left-hand corner under recent posts.