Abbotsford Council Has To Learn To Stay Within Its Jurisdiction

By February 6, 2013Hot Topic, Mike Archer

By Mike Archer. Abbotsford City Council has got to stop passing ultra vires bylaws and venturing into legislative fields where it has no jurisdiction.

Ultra vires is a Latin phrase meaning literally “beyond the powers”, although its standard legal translation and substitute is “beyond power”. If an act requires legal authority and it is done with such authority, it is characterised in law as intra vires (literally “within the powers”; standard legal translation and substitute, “within power”). If it is done without such authority, it is ultra vires. Acts that are intra vires may equivalently be termed “valid” and those that are ultra vires “invalid”.

First there’s Councillor Simon Gibson and his battle with Health Canada.

Councillor Simon Gibson

Councillor Simon Gibson

It may make Councillor Simon Gibson feel important to have given Abbotsford its Anti-Harm Reduction Bylaw but as someone who prides himself in his three decades as a politician and likes to think of himself as an educator, one would expect a little more in the way proper research and or least a passing knowledge of the law or the constitution.

What Simon has done is to effectively place the City of Abbotsford between the health professionals at the Fraser Health Authority and the citizens of Abbotsford.

As citizens of Canada they are entitled to the same medical assistance and treatment as any other Canadian.

As residents of Abbotsford they are denied that medical treatment.

What Simon has managed to do is not only ultra vires it puts both the City of Abbotsford and its taxpayers in legal jeopardy (not to mention Simon himself) if someone decides to fight for the rights of Abbotsford citizens to have the health care to which they are entitled as Canadian citizens.

This is some pretty serious stuff but Simon will probably laugh it off like he laughs off most things he doesn’t understand.

Then there’s Patricia Ross and her battle with shark fins.

Councillor Patricia Ross

Councillor Patricia Ross

While Abbotsford politicians may not like Gerda and Richard Peachey they should pay a little closer attention to what they are given to read (and actually read it), and the issues on which they are being asked to decide rather than paying so much attention to who is making the point.

Richard Peachey correctly pointed out on Monday that, once again, Council has passed an ultra vires bylaw on an issue over which they have no jurisdiction whatsoever.

Councillor Patricia Ross, who regularly interrupts council discussions to explain that she is confused, ought to devote some of her pay as a councillor to paying for an assistant to explain what’s going on. She has completely misunderstood Plan A, the Abbotsford Heat hockey deal, the rape of Sumas Mountain by gravel companies, which she allowed to take the place as Chair of the Fraser Valley Regional District, and the paving of Abbotsford’s pristine forest with the Discovery Trail.

The list of things about which Patricia is confused in too long to go into in any depth but it is long enough to make the things she does manage to focus on all the more absurd.

She has sat idly by and either supported decisions which have virtually bankrupted the city, or let them occur without much disagreement, and yet she manages to fight the good fight on an issue over which she has no legal authority to do a damn thing.

She has opened the taxpayers and the City of Abbotsford up to be successfully sued for exceeding its jurisdiction and interfering with the ability of legitimate companies to conduct their business because a belief or feeling she has.

In both cases these councillors have gone way beyond the normal ineptitude the general public has grown used to from its politicians. There are serious potential legal ramifications to their actions.

Unfortunately it may take someone successfully suing the City and the councillors involved before council learns once and for all to:

a) Abide by the law
b) Stay within its legal jurisdiction

This is not student council guys … this is the legal body governing a city of 133,000 citizens. This is your friends’ and neighbours’ money and legal responsibilities with which your are playing.

Your friends and neighbours deserve better from you.

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