In the letter to the editor (Coast Reporter, Sept. 20) Brian Sadler suggests that the responsibility and accountability of elected people rests solely on direct or indirect pecuniary (financial) conflict of interest as defined in the Community Charter.
If I have deciphered his letter correctly, it sounds like Mr. Sadler is saying that in the case of non-resident elected people, they would not have a reason to be responsible or accountable, because they donít have a financial interest through taxation.
Mr. Sadler suggests that revising the Local Government Act to preclude non-residents from running for office within a jurisdiction other than the one in which they reside would solve this issue.
First of all, an elected personís responsibility does not rest solely on pecuniary conflict. The Community Charter requires elected people to undertake their duties of public office with care and impartiality. To do otherwise could lead to disqualification.
Further, section 100(2)(b) of the Community Charter requires council members to disclose both pecuniary and non-pecuniary conflicts. The charter clearly states that elected people must leave the room when a matter of conflict is being discussed and voted on, and they must never try to exercise influence on matters of pecuniary or non-pecuniary conflict.
Misuse of Office, another mechanism for responsibility and accountability, is actually a federal offence. If it were not for the Community of Interest exemption, whereby an issue which is not unique to an elected person does not constitute a conflict, Mr. Sadlerís argument would logically lead to the conclusion that the only people without a conflict of interest are non-resident, non-property-owning, non-business-operating citizens ó†because these are the only folks without a pecuniary interest in matters of taxation.
Suzanne Senger, Gibsons