Democracy requires that informed voters exercise their franchise but there’s not been much information forthcoming in Harrison recently. I am the author of the four newsletters which Councillor Harris and Mr Maw complain about. These newsletters have succeeded in providing information to voters which was not available from the Village council or the local press. I’m delighted to see that Mr Harris is now admitting to receiving Harrison taxpayer money, even though it’s been routed through Civic Consultants. I’m alarmed that, after six years in office, he still does not accept the conflict of interest rules laid out in the Local Government Act.
Those rules are quite clear that it doesn’t matter if you do the dance of the seven veils to try and hide your personal benefit, if any of the public’s money ends up in your pocket, you’re in conflict. According to the Village’s Freedom of Information officer, there is no contract between the Village and Civic, “armslength” or otherwise. There are, however, invoices which clearly show Harris’s company billing the Village $90 per hour for his services in 2010. As a part-timer (not salaried, as he claims), I expect he received all or part of this. So his Civic earnings are tied directly to his work on Village projects and for developers working in the village. At one point, he called himself a principal of Civic. I’ve only seen him step out of one meeting and that was only after councillor Jackson (after saying nothing for the six years before the recent election loomed) forced him to leave. Harris’s actions as a councillor in conflict should be audited. Perhaps the provincial conflict commissioner would undertake this or Premiere Clark’s new municipal auditor, who will open an office soon in Surrey. I would welcome either.