By Mike Archer. Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman has made his share of mistakes in his first year and a half in office but on one issue he has been way out of line. Many people in politics and the media have argued with or disagreed with either Gerda or Richard Peachey over stands they have taken regarding Abbotsford politics, whether they be about City Hall or the School Board.
Though we all tend not only to believe ourselves to be correct, especially on large moral or political issues, we often, to our discredit, demonize those with whom we disagree when put in a confrontational situation.
Regardless of our disagreements I have learned that Gerda and Richard Peachey are principled people who give a damn about their community. Because they speak out on moral and religious issues they are easy to label as religious whackos but, when you dig a little deeper, you will find they are usually simply asking public officials to live up to their own rules, stated principles or political positions because they honestly care.
I must admit I have disagreed with both on many occasions and have crossed the line myself to the point of being mean spirited in some of my public arguments with Gerda. I have apologised privately but I’ll take this opportunity to apologise publicly for doing so.
Mayor Banman ought to do the same to both Gerda and Richard over his handling of the issue of a Usage Policy for the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre (AESC) and Tradex.We all realize that because of the ill-considered actions of several men and women who still sit around the Abbotsford Council table the taxpayers of Abbotsford are saddled with an enormous long term debt and a financial burden which requires some tough decisions to be made in order to protect what is left of the taxpayers’ bank account.
If that requires making some decisions like allowing women in underwear to run around pretending to play football for the sexual gratification men in bible belt so be it.
But let’s be honest about what we’re doing instead of pretending we are defending some great principle of jurisprudence by defending men’s ability to watch women in underwear at a public facillity which already has rules governing the kinds of shows which can be allowed.
How uncomfortable it must be for some on council who owe their political success to large groups within Abbotsford who must certainly be frowning about the professional women in underwear who play at the AESC.
In fact, a perfectly sane and intelligent solution was proposed By Councillor Henry Braun, and supported by the majority of council that the City have staff come up with a Usage Policy to be debated and agreed upon.
It was Banman and Councillor John Smith who had that decision thrown out.
Banman needn’t apologise for his views. We are all entitled to those. And especially on issues such as morality,religion, or womens’ underwear debates can, admittedly, get somewhat heated.
However, as is evident in the text of Richard Peachey’s email in anticipation of his upcoming presentation to Abbotsford Council (below), Mayor Banman, whatever his views on women’s underwear, has to come to terms with and lay to rest the issues of:
a) quoting the Supreme Court of Canada without being able to tell when the Supreme Court made the laws he refers to, and,
b) insulting Gerda Peachey with his ‘Court of Gerda’ comment.
In his remarks to Council on the subject he has exhibited a lack of understanding of the veracity required of lawmakers in discussing the law, especially when defending a law they themselves are making.
- “There are laws in place that define that, by the Supreme Court of Canada. They may not be laws that you agree with, and you may think they’re far too loose … “
- “Those are lawful clauses of morality that have been put in place by the Supreme Court of Canada, not the court of Gerda. You may not agree with them, and that’s fine. But they are the Supreme Court of Canada, based on morality and decency.” [italics ours]
Banman needs to explain what laws the Supreme Court of Canada put in place that are guiding his actions or apologise for attempting to bolster his case with fallacious buffoonery.
Furthermore, by using the phrase, “… not the court of Gerda …” while making his stand in a public setting, he was being unnecessarily mean and insulting and he went over the line, perhaps not in the court of Bruce, but certainly in the court of publicly defensible behaviour by anyone who claims the protection of a chain of office.
To simply refuse to reply to Mr. Peachey’s emails on the subject is the George Peary way of dealing with members of the public who annoyed him. We expected more of Banman.
Richard Peachey’s email to Mayor Banman to which Banman refuses to reply:
On March 20, 2013, I received a telephone call at my home from Nancy Friesen, Abbotsford mayor Bruce Banman’s assistant, to inform me that the mayor “will not be answering” my email of February 11, 2013. No reason or explanation for this was provided. My email is shown in full below.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
From: Richard Peachey
Date: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 2:26 PM
To: Bruce Banman
Cc: Katie Karn
, Bill Flitton , Tammy Ketola , Bill MacGregor , “Dave Loewen (Councillor)” , Henry Braun , John Smith , Les Barkman , Moe Gill , Patricia Ross , Simon Gibson
I am respectfully submitting some questions herewith for your response. I would very much appreciate your direct, clear, timely written answers to my questions. (Some of the questions have several parts.)
I have taken the following quotation from an email you sent to my wife, Gerda Peachey:
From: Bruce Banman
Date: Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 10:31 AM
Subject: Reply to your email
Cc: Nancy Friesen
Good morning Gerda,
On behalf of Council, and in reply to your email of October 1st, your questions are answered as outlined below:
1. Is there a mandate for City Hall to answer questions put to it, by people in the community?
There is clear policy and commitment to answer all resident questions, ideas and concern. All enquiries are received, logged, assigned and responded to.
(a) Do you acknowledge having written that email?
(b) Is the City’s “clear policy and commitment to answer all resident questions, ideas and concern” still in effect?
On February 13, 2012, the Abbotsford News attributed the following statement to you:
“The entertainment and sports centre is similar to Tradex – they’re both run by independent parties and the city’s position is we will not interfere in determining what is appropriate or inappropriate entertainment as long as these events do not involve safety considerations for the city or its residents,” said Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman.
(a) Is the above quotation of you accurate?
(b) Who decided what “the city’s position” would be? Was it decided by a formal vote of Council? Or was it a decision of staff, or the City manager and/or the Mayor, or …?
On November 5, 2012, my wife, Gerda Peachey appeared as a delegation before Council in opposition to the so-called Lingerie Football League. In your response to her you stated:
And I would say to those — when I said I was not the morality police, I am not. I disagree with you. There are laws in place that define that, by the Supreme Court of Canada. They may not be laws that you agree with, and you may think they’re far too loose. . . .
The laws of this country have been defined. I may not agree with all of them, but they are the laws of the country. . . .
Those are lawful clauses of morality that have been put in place by the Supreme Court of Canada, not the court of Gerda. You may not agree with them, and that’s fine. But they are the Supreme Court of Canada, based on morality and decency.
Your response above was given in public, in your official capacity as Mayor, during a regular Council meeting. Your response was televised and remains available on the City website under archived streamed Council meetings. In your response, you referred three times to “the Supreme Court of Canada” and “laws” or “lawful clauses of morality” put “in place” by that Court.
Furthermore, speaking as a citizen and a husband, I think you also used rather patronizing and demeaning language when you added the phrase “not the court of Gerda.”
On January 4, 2013 (now well over a month ago), I emailed you the following question:
As I’m preparing for my delegation before Abbotsford City Council on Jan. 21, I am wondering what your repeated references to the “Supreme Court of Canada” on Nov. 5 were specifically about. (Please see transcript of Gerda’s delegation, attached, which includes your remarks.)
When I googled “Supreme Court of Canada” + “decency”, the main item that came up was a 2005 case known as R. v. Labaye (Wikipedia summary here; full decision here). That case doesn’t seem very relevant to the Abbotsford situation, since it involved an issue of criminal indecency (not “common” decency) occurring in what the majority of judges considered to be a private place (not a public municipal facility). Also, it involved episodes of group sex (orgies), and I am pretty certain that Council is nowhere near renting out the AESC for that kind of event, even though the Supreme Court of Canada did decide in favour of that perpetrator (and such activity can therefore be considered “legal”).
So can you clarify for me what Supreme Court of Canada cases or laws you had in mind? It would be helpful for me in preparing a better-informed delegation.
I followed up with further email reminders on January 12, 2013 and January 22, 2013. I also mentioned the fact that I had received no answer to my question during my delegation before the regular Council meeting on January 21, 2013 and during my speech before the regular Council meeting on February 4, 2013. To date, however, I still have not received an answer to my question.
(a) Will you now clarify for me what Supreme Court of Canada cases or laws you had in mind during your response on November 5, 2012?
(b) Will you offer a public apology to my wife for the patronizing and demeaning language you used in your response to her?
On February 4, 2013, I attempted to point out that Councillor Smith’s motion “to rescind the motion that was passed two weeks ago” had included rescinding of Council’s receiving of my delegation. You disagreed and prevented me from speaking further on that topic. The fact is, however, that the official minutes of the January 21, 2013 regular Council meeting read as follows:
.1 Richard Peachey, 2044 Oakridge Crescent, regarding the Lingerie Football League
Moved by Councillor Braun, seconded by Councillor Gibson, that the delegation of Richard Peachey, 2044 Oakridge Crescent, and background information, regarding the Lingerie Football League, be received; and that staff be directed to develop a usage policy for the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre to be brought back to Council for consideration.
Opposed: Mayor Banman and Councillor Smith
The above minutes make it clear that there was a single motion, which included the receiving of my delegation and the direction to staff to develop a usage policy. On February 4, 2013 that single motion was rescinded.
(a) Will you oversee the introduction of a new motion to receive my delegation and background information, at your earliest opportunity to do so?
(b) Will you acknowledge your mistake in public, and apologize for your claim that I was in error on this matter?
I recognize that the Mayor has a multi-faceted job with many demands on his schedule. It would therefore not be reasonable for me to demand answers to my questions within any short, specified time-frame. At the same time, you have acknowledged that the City does have a policy of answering residents’ questions. In order to forestall any sense on my part that you might be stonewalling or ignoring my questions, I would suggest that you at least send me a quick email recognizing that my questions should be answered, and proposing an approximate date by which you would answer my questions.
(a) Do you acknowledge that my questions are sufficiently reasonable that they should be given answers?
(b) Would you propose a date by which you will either answer my questions or provide a reason for needing more time (e.g., some research has to be done)?
Your consideration of the questions posed in this email will be much appreciated, Bruce. I look forward to further discussion of the issues in as cordial an atmosphere as possible.