For the past several months, local realtor David Kircher has been engaged in an extensive misinformation campaign concerning Council’s efforts to protect the former Fort Frances mill and access to provincial wood rights in our local Crown forest. But recent events have confirmed that not a soul on Council supports his conspiracy theories or claims that members of municipal staff or councillors have acted against the community's interests.
Despite being repeatedly presented with the facts (by members of Council, our MPP, the Boundary Waters Forest Management Corporation, representatives of the Rainy River Future Development Corporation, and others), he has continued to bombard Council with incoherent emails and to publish nonsense advertisements in the Fort Frances Times (you can view them here).
All of these communications have been riddled with flagrant misstatements of fact targeting Council and the municipality’s advisors and staff. I have addressed his misinformation on several occasions. Nevertheless, this nonsense persists.
One of Mr. Kircher’s most longstanding demands is that the municipality launch a judicial investigation into the Crossroute Forest licensing and the related provincial audits. Section 274 of the Municipal Act, 2001 allows a municipality to open a judicial investigation by a resolution of Council. I have repeatedly explained that these matters are outside of municipal jurisdiction, so this process is not available to Council. Crown forests are matters of provincial concern. We might as well launch a judicial investigation into whether Elvis is dead or COVID-19 vaccines are injecting people with microchips.
Regardless, judicial investigations are money pits. Such a process could easily cost taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, all to tell us what we already know: that the people of Fort Frances were sold out by corporate greed and poor provincial decisions.
Mr. Kircher’s advertising campaign has targeted much of its scorn at Councillor John McTaggart and me, as two of the members of Council who worked most closely on efforts to find a new operator for the mill back in 2018 and 2019. He seems to suggest that we are responsible for withholding information from Council or are part of some grand scheme to defraud the community of its economic future.
This is false, which the RRFDC and the municipality’s advisors and others have repeatedly confirmed to Council, across numerous reports, including the one unlawfully requisitioned by Mayor June Caul a year ago, back when she thought she was the CAO.
(Despite months of muckraking and libel by Mr. Kircher, Mayor Caul appears to be the only person who has endorsed his conspiracies. Readers will remember the leaked legal opinion, which the Mayor illegally provided to Mr. Kircher last year. The Times has now monetized that illegally-obtained document, running excerpts of it in print, knowing that Council has never authorized its release.)
This misinformation campaign has been a disservice to the community and harmful to many hardworking public servants. So, in order to put this matter to rest, on June 9, 2022, I replied to one of Mr. Kircher’s many emails to all of Council to advise him that I would move the motion for the judicial investigation if he could find someone on Council willing to second it. All motions must have a mover and a seconder in order to be debated and ultimately voted on at Council. I made my offer publicly.
I did this knowing that even if this resolution were moved and seconded, it would be soundly defeated in a vote. Everyone on Council knows that the municipality did everything it could to protect the community’s interests in the forest and that Council has no authority to launch the judicial investigation Mr. Kircher demands. (Again, even if we did have that power, it would be a foolish waste of time and money.)
I gave Mr. Kircher (and all of Council, who were cc’d on my email) until June 17, 2022 to find a seconder for the resolution for a judicial investigation. The deadline came and went, and not a single member of Council has come forward.
Accordingly, it should now be abundantly clear to Mr. Kircher that not a single councillor supports his conspiracy theories, as no one appears to want to see them on a Council agenda to be so much as debated.
Despite my colleagues’ abuse of meeting procedures in the past to block me from commenting on Mr. Kircher’s misinformation, it seems that their protection of him – and of the Mayor’s complicity – does have some reasonable limits.
If Mr. Kircher truly believes that his theories are influencing anyone on Council or have any merit, he should ask my colleagues why none of them would second the resolution to open the judicial investigation he wants (including the Mayor, who could vacate the chair to do so if she truly felt he was onto something important).
None of them have acted. None of them will. Nothing will come of this. And David Kircher is still lying.