Investigation more than warranted

Dear editor,

The following is an open letter to Mayor Caul and council:

Good Afternoon Mayor Caul and Mr. Anwar CAO,

I have attached hereto the first page of Councillor Judson’s November 8 2021, Memorandum to Mayor and Council. Please note the last paragraph and three bullet points of part one;  Background. Councillor Judson describes the chain of custody of the copies of the Legal Opinion from Gowling by email to Councillor Judson and Economic Development Officer Tannis Drysdale on January 29, 2019 and then to the other members of this working group February 2 2019.

On February 18, 2021, CAO Doug Brown forwarded Ms. Drysdale’s February 2, 2019 email to Councillor Judson, Mayor Caul, Councillor Behan, and Councillor McTaggart.

The article in the October 27 2021 edition of the Fort Frances Times describes the document: “ The 12- page opinion… was a draft document produced by Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP on January 28, 2019 …”

Councillor Judson in a Facebook post states that he was “… a member of the working group that was engaged on the wood rights/mill issues early on in our term.”

Council has made decisions, since February 2 2019, related to the wood rights/mill issues from information presented in the DRAFT legal opinion.

This DRAFT opinion informed Council that Resolute indicated, in a  report filed on the MNRF website, that a 2017 Crossroute IFA had been done, however the law firm advised the IFA report was not public. The significance of the Independent Forest Audits related to the extension of a Sustainable Forest Licence was explained and that a review of the 2017 Crossroute IFA was material to their opinion as to Resolute’ s compliance with the terms and conditions of the SFL from 2012 – 2017. This working group made a decision to present only the information in the DRAFT opinion to Council, as the same FF Times article confirmed another opinion that would include a 2017 audit was not obtained.

Furthermore, Resolute has provided confirmation to the Fort Frances Times that ArborVitae Environmental Services Ltd. completed the last Crossroute Independent Forest Audit.

An investigation is more than warranted- your constituents are the victims. Based on the foregoing, together with the information provided in my November emails, Council cannot afford not to undertake and complete an investigation.

Thank you,
David Kircher