Tuesday, September 4, 2018


The Woolwich Observer published a Letter To The Editor on Saturday May 3, 2008 titled "CPAC generates plenty of questions but offers very few answers". This Letter was written by Dr. Henry Regier. It may well be this letter that set Dave Brenneman, CAO of Woolwich Township, on the path of no private meetings by committees of council, at least for a brief period.

Henry took aim at private breakfast meetings promoted and called by CPAC Chair, Pat Mclean. Henry appropriately asked whether or not they were paid for by Chemtura Canada. Henry also noted that the character of these breakfast meetings changed over time. For many of us work precluded any ability to attend breakfast meetings the majority of the time. Unsurprisingly no such constraints hobbled Pat or Susan Bryant who seemed most supportive of them. How easy it must have been to sell your ideas and positions to a small subset of the voting members of CPAC. A subset that excluded some of the best informed CPAC members.

Henry also took aim at consultancies, particularly he wanted to know the specific details as to who paid for them, who called for the consultant to attend and exactly how was this consultant then accountable to CPAC. Henry specifically named Wilf Ruland and asked some pretty direct questions as to just exactly who was Wilf reporting to and working for. Henry also pressed the point as to the extent of this consultant's independence namely: "Knowing that the company was paying his consultant fees (if that was the case) would it be fair to speculate that a consultant's enthusiasm to press potentially embarrassing questions may have been moderated? On some public occasions, may such a consultant have felt it necessary, partly because of his own financial interests involved, to contradict one or more members of CPAC to the advantage of the company's position on issues in which the expertise of those CPAC members clearly exceeded his own expertise?"

Wilf Ruland did good things for CPAC and for the public. He also, with help and supervision from two CPAC members, did great harm to public consultation.

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