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Some Ridge council issues still not addressed
Editor, The News:
Re: Coun. Cheryl Ashlie, (Letters, Aug. 7).
Conflict of interest is a broad term. In legislation it is usually narrowly defined to only capture conflicts that could result in financial gain for the individual and/or immediate family members.
When Coun. Cheryl Ashlie states, “And as assigned under the legislation, I will call my own conflict,” she is specifically referring to any potential personal financial gain.
She will do this, of course. To do otherwise is to risk removal by the courts from her elected position.
It is perceived conflict of interest, or optics, that are the concerns being raised in the community over Coun. Ashlie sitting on Maple Ridge council while acting as the constituency assistant for Liberal MLA Doug Bing.
Cheryl Baron’s (Letters, Aug. 2) letter to the editor raised a concern about perceived conflict of interest and that concern has not been addressed.
It is easy to think of examples of the difficulties that may arise from a perception of conflict of interest in this case: A Maple Ridge resident has a concern involving a district bylaw or decision and wants to bring that concern to his/her MLA. Will they hesitate to pick up the phone or drop by the office, knowing they will be speaking to a Maple Ridge councillor?
Will they have concerns about confidentiality? Will this prove a barrier?
To date, I have not read anything that suggests these concerns are partisan, but Ms. Ashlie’s letter takes pains to point out parallel behaviour within the New Democratic party.
Is it really necessary to point out, “two wrongs don’t make a right?”
There are many questions and they should be addressed directly. The answers may prove satisfactory, but the skirting of the central concerns is disturbing.
Perceived conflict of interest is not an easy issue to deal with, but when the effort is made, everyone benefits because it results in better governance.