Although this web site was previously affiliated with the Facebook Squamish Speaks Group (FSSG), and I (Johnny Stork) continue to support it’s value as a resource for the Squamish community, it became necessary to completely distance this site (and myself) from Facebook Squamish Speaks on some very serious ethical grounds as well as numerous examples of inexcusable misconduct on the part of the past and present administrators, one of them (previously) running for mayor. The reasons for this separation are clear, fully documented, inexcusably negligent, irresponsible, profoundly unethical and had the potential to place some members of the community at risk to their safety. Myself, and others who were aware of the unethical and irresponsible conduct of the Facebook Squamish Speaks administrators, vehemently oppose such conduct and could not in good conscience, remain members of the group. To do so would be a tacit approval of irresponsible and unethical conduct which may have put members of the Squamish community at risk. The principle issues revolve around a failure by Auli Parviainen and John Jervis to heed RCMP warnings and a suggestion to post a public notice intended to reduce a potential risk to group members. Also, various concerns regarding misconduct and threats from John Jervis, who has also been accused of withholding research data and bullying, by directors of the Squamish Chamber of Commerce.
The principle ethical issues began around numerous community, media and public-records, as well as RCMP involvement, with the discovery of an (alleged) offender creating fake profiles on Facebook, with one of them suspected as being a young woman and who started to post on the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group and even obtain invitations to “meet for coffee”.
Below are the main reasons why this web site has changed it’s name to Squamish Talk. Following the summary, there is some additional information on Canadian Defamation Law, a suggestion for how the Squamish Speaks Facebook group could recover from these events and rebuild trust and confidence in the administration of the group, as well as more detailed descriptions/outlines of a few key reasons for changing the name to Squamish Talk.
Summary of Reasons why This Site is now Squamish Talk
- Failure to (initially) report or respond to an individual clearly admitting to creating fake profiles, including one presented as a young girl and who’s deceptive/fraudulent postings managed to obtain invitations to “meet for coffee” and even obtain phone numbers.
- Failure and refusal to respond to, or warn members of the existence of a known offender in the group with a criminal record and who is known to the RCMP. The SAME INDIVIDUAL suspected as having created numerous fake profiles, including one of a young girl and where many in the community have expressed concern regarding this individual’s conduct.
- Failure and refusal to respond to, or post an RCMP reviewed and edited notice (drafted by Johnny Stork) to the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group intended to provide the group with adequate warning in the event they are contacted by the suspect.
- Numerous examples of flagrant censorship, removal of posts by members and repeated and aggressive attempts to withhold ALL of these facts and evidence of a potential safety risk to members. The administrators of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group intentionally, actively and repeatedly tried to remove warning postings and threatened the removal and blocking of members who try to post this information.
- Failure to carry out a reasonable level of due-diligence to confirm, or disconfirm any of these numerous and potential dangerous risks to the members of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group.
- Blatant, ongoing censorship (removal of postings) and bias (refusal to allow some members of the community access) on the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group and efforts to discredit this web site.
- The final, desperate and unethical act which led to the need to completely break away from the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group, were threats made by Mr John Jervis (previously) a Director of the Squamish Chamber of Commerce. During these unfortunate events, John Jervis had numerous communications with my partner. Most were simply offensive or annoying. But Mr Jervis also showed a complete disregard for the facts, an inability to act with due diligence to confirm or disconfirm these many concerns and a complete disregard for the safety of the members in the group. Mr Jervis’s last communication to my partner was to bully and threaten legal action, apparently on behalf of ALL the administrators, if my partner continued to try and inform the members of these risks, or disclose any of these communications or evidence! Apparently this was not the only, or last time John Jervis has been accused of bullying or other misconduct. Although completely baseless from a legal point of view, Mr John Jervis’s threats were the straw that broke the camel’s back and which led to the decision to remove myself from the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group and to change the name of this site to Squamish Talk.
“Krisztina, Kerry and I have deep pockets for legal fees to press charges for
harassment and defamation” (John Jervis – Facebook Message – October 28 2011)
Comments & Summary
Many of the candidates, as well as each of the “administrators” of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group” have proclaimed their complete support for the ideals of openness, transparency and honesty. Yet, deception, intentional withholding of all facts and evidence from the members, decisions being made “behind closed doors” and even threats of legal action if the details behind decisions, inaction or communications were released, have all occurred with the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group. Although each member of the Squamish community will decide for themselves if these facts are true, or if they constitute any wrongdoing, unethical conduct or simply hypocrisy. Myself, and many others in the Squamish community, who have reviewed ALL of the facts, evidence and communications, unanimously agree that the Squamish Speaks administrators, and one of the mayoral candidates, demonstrated significant errors in judgment by attempting to withhold (potential) public safety information from the members.
As a result of what I, and many believe is sufficient, documented and repeated examples of indefensible negligence, deception, unethical conduct and blatant hypocrisy, I cannot support the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group, or its past/current administrators. The irresponsible decision NOT to support and post the RCMP edited/reviewed notice (drafted by Johnny Stork), is sufficient cause to question the conduct of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group and administrators. When combined with repeated examples of further deception and unethical conduct, any support for the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group would be a tacit support for this conduct. Nor can I support activity which inhibits free speech, especially when it relates to nothing more than posting an RCMP edited/reviewed notice (drafted by Johnny Stork). Nor can I condone or support threats of legal action for exposing such irresponsible conduct when there is clear, irrefutable evidence of a potential threat, and information in the public interest which may reduce the risk of harm.
I deeply regret this situation, especially considering all the documented attempts to encourage the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group administrators to simply be open, transparent, honest and to post the warning notice were all ignored. Had they simply done the “right thing” at this early stage, all of these additional and unfortunate incidents would likely have been avoided.
I certainly hope that the Squamish community will agree, that we should never condone or ignore such negligent conduct under any circumstances. I also believe it is crucial to speak-up and expose examples of misconduct or negligence which may put the community at risk. Especially when those who are running for municipal office, are alleged to have been involved in negligent, irresponsible or questionable conduct. Every step was taking right from the start to prevent this situation from escalating or causing harm or embarrassment to anyone, starting with the administrators. These multiple efforts to end the situation quickly, ethically, openly and in the best interests of the community and everyone involved, are also fully documented.
Rebuilding Trust & Confidence in the SSFG
Although I (and others) have left the SSFG of my own free will since I cannot support, condone or ignore such blatant negligence, misconduct and hypocrisy which put the community at risk, I still fully support the EXCEPTIONAL and growing participation by the community in the ongoing dialogues around Squamish. Those who know how this group and web site started know full well who is (likely) responsible for its increasing growth and public awareness. I would very much like to participate in the SSFG but cannot, in good conscience, do so with the current and self-appointed administrators. In order for the group to start fresh, and with a clear and honest commitment to the democratic process, I would suggest that someone propose an open vote for three new administrators. People could simply throw their names into the hat and then a Tiipz poll, or Facebook Poll App could be used to get the members of the group to vote on three new administrators. Once three new administrators have been selected through a democratic process, myself and around a dozen others in the community who have left would be honoured to return to the group, and participate in the lively discussions around Squamish’s future. But of course this depends entirely on the current SSFG administrators being committed to an open, transparent and democratic process.
Canadian Defamation Law (What is defamation?)
“Defamation is communication about a person that tends to hurt the person’s reputation. The communication must be made to other people, not just to the person it’s about. It can be spoken, which is called slander, Or it can be written, which is called libel. It can also be a gesture, which is a type of slander“. (Canadian Bar Association)
“The law protects your reputation against defamation. If someone defames you, you can sue them to pay money (called “damages”) for harming your reputation. You have to sue in Supreme Court, not Provincial Court, and you have to sue within 2 years of the defamation.” (Canadian Bar Association)
There is no doubt, and I fully admit to drawing into question the character, judgement and conduct of both Auli Parviainen and John Jervis. However, in order for an individual to (successfully) sue and recover financial damages in a defamation suit, there are various conditions which need to be met. First and foremost, the statements must be false, and I must KNOW they are false. Under Canadian Defamation Law, truth is what is known as a “complete defence”. In other words, statements can hurt your feelings, they may damage your reputation but if they are TRUE, then the person being sued has a pretty good, or as in this case “complete defence”. Along with other defences against a defamation suit, such as “fair comment” there is also a relatively new defence known as “responsible communication” which simply means that slanderous/libellous statements can sometimes be defended on the grounds of a greater “public interest”, even if they turn out to be false. However, both Auli Parviainen and John Jervis (with his “deep pockets”) are both within their rights to pursue legal action and attempt to sue for defamation. As I previously encouraged John Jervis, don’t waste your money or my time on a “Cease and Desist” letter as it will be ignored. If you believe you have been falsely defamed, retain a lawyer, file your Statement of Claim and Affidavit, and we can allow the Supreme Court of Canada to decide if you should be awarded damages, or I should be awarded damages in a counter suit.
I should also make it perfectly clear that there is absolutely nothing “personal” about my exposure of these events, and drawing into question the conduct or character of Auli Parviainen or John Jervis. I have never even met either of these individuals. I am sure that in many other ways, and in many other circumstances they are decent, honest and conscientious individuals. However, this situation is 100% about raising concerns about the misconduct, poor judgement and blatant acts of censorhip, misinformation, hidden agenda’s and witholding important information from the community by individuals running for municipal office, or falsely presenting themselves as supporting transparency, or claiming to be unbiased and fair. This post is about exposing hypocrisy, misconduct, negligence and raising doubt as to the suitablity of a candidate for municipal office, nothing more.
Squamish Speaks Administrators Refusal to Warn
The Community of a Potential Safety Threat
A number of very important issues, and critical information regarding a potential public safety risk (involving the RCMP), has developed over a few weeks in October and November of 2011. Unfortunately, in spite of multiple attempts to encourage the administrators of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group to be transparent and fully disclose all information to the members, the administrators have refused to disclose this information or inform the members, have threatened not only to remove the public notice, but to remove and block those members who post the warning notice and have also threatened to pursue legal action against those who expose these events. We believe that full transparency, and full disclosure, is the only ethical action that can be taken in this situation, since it involves the intentional withholding of information by the administrators of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group, about a potential safety risk.
Note: Although there are four individuals who have been, or are currently administrators of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group, only Auli Parviainen, and John Jervis have ACTIVELY refused to inform the community, refused to publish the RCMP reviewed/edited warning notice (drafted by Johnny Stork) or threatened to remove, block, censor or sue members who expose this situation. The other administrators of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group have simply refused to intervene, or openly support the disclosure of a potential safety risk to the community/members or to withdraw/retract the legally baseless threats to “press charges for harassment and defamation”.
“Krisztina, Kerry and I have deep pockets for legal fees to press charges for harassment and defamation” (John Jervis – Facebook Message – October 28 2011)
Squamish Speaks Administrators Efforts to Discredit this Site
and Avoid Public Accountability
Although the Squamish Talk web site (previously Squamish Speaks) continues to support and promote the great discussions that take place on the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group, and other valuable election sites, the SSFG admins have decided that even though this web site provides the single most comprehensive and non-biased coverage of the election and candidates, they have removed the link to the site from their group and have even tried to imply that “websites and blogs” have some sort of inherent risk for “spying and data mining“.! This misleading statement is preposterous, and not only demonstrates an immature and deceptive intent, but a profound ignorance of web, blog or Internet technologies in general, by whoever wrote that statement.
I have an education, background and extensive experience in many fields (psychology, philosophy, statistics, (some) computer science, web development, databases, security), including business and technology consulting. I have been a database developer for more than 15 years, spent 12+ years in various institutions, three BC universities (including graduate school) and many colleges, and have intimate and first-hand knowledge of data mining and especially security practices and web technologies. I still provide many of these services to various clients, and in the past, to provincial and even federal government ministries. The statement below, which was recently added to the info section of the SSFG by the administrators, after removing the link to the Squamish Talk web site, is misleading and has almost no basis in truth, technology, web sites or “data mining”.
Squamish Speaks Facebook Group (Info Page/Notice)
“Other websites and blogs provide the possibility
for their local creator hosts to spy and data mine”
There is no mistaking the intentions of the admins of the SSFG with their posting such misleading statements designed only to (further) misinform the members, and malign the MOST used and non-commercial, non-partisan web site containing the most comprehensive coverage of the election and candidates. It is very clear that the only reason to post such misleading statements on the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group is to try and deter the public from visiting this site and obtaining the extensive and documented evidence of negligence, misconduct and refusing to comply with an RCMP approved/edited public warning notice. Fortunately this site has become so popular as a comprehensive resource for 2011 Election Material, with over 1300 unique visitors and more than 18,000 page views in only 5 weeks (and growing), many in Squamish are already aware of what has taken place and who is responsible.
Note: If at any time anyone in the Squamish community would like full administrator access to this web site in order to monitor or view all operations, please contact Johnny Stork at [email protected]. Once you provide a written statement agreeing NOT to damage, deface or manipulate any aspect of this site or it’s content, you will be given 100% complete, administrator-level access. We have nothing to hide.
Squamish Speaks Administrators Blatant Censorship and
Further Attempts to Avoid Accountability
Since the deceptive, negligent and unethical conduct of (at least two) SSFG admins have now been exposed to the public in order to ensure a transparent and full disclosure can be offered to the community, the SSFG admins are now engaging in blatant and hypocritical censorship of members, likely motivated by a desire to try and prevent the Squamish community from learning about their conduct. Fortunately this site has become so popular as a comprehensive resource for 2011 Election Material, with over 1300 unique visitors and more than 18,000 page views in only 5 weeks (and growing), many in Squamish are already aware of what has taken place, and who is responsible.
The Squamish Talk web site is very likely the most popular site in Squamish for the aggregation, summary and presentation of non-biased, non-commercial and 100% volunteer-driven 2011 election and candidate material. This site includes content, or links to the Squamish Chief, MySquamish, the Pique and other commercial sites containing additional or supplementary election and candidate material. There is no denying the value to the voters, of having most, if not all Squamish election content in one location.
However, starting on November 5 2011, the SSFG admins (almost certainly John Jervis) has taken it upon himself to blatantly censor members who try to post updates or links to this site. The innocuous, harmless and community-benefiting/informing post below was sent to the SSFG at 2:15 pm. By 2:17 it had been removed without notice.
To add further to the blatant, indefensible censorship and bias on the part of the Squamish Speaks Facebook Group admins (almost certainly the acts of one person, John Jervis), my partner, a very recognized and respected member of the community, requested membership in the SSFG on Saturday, November 5th 2011, and thus far, has been refused membership.
In order to put things into a calm and rational perspective, please consider the statements below which outline the goals, principles and no-moderation claims being made by the SSFG admins.
“This group is administered by 3 volunteers who are completely unbiased and unconnected to any candidates. The only purpose is to enable freedom of speech and encourage collaboration for the benefit of our community. All comments added to this group become public and may be reproduced or quoted elsewhere for the non-commercial benefit of other interested readers. We will not edit or remove comments or people, except those making disrespectful posts, airing personal agendas, or speaking through false identities” (Squamish Speaks Facebook Group – Information Page)
Note the claims of being “completely unbiased” support for “freedom of speech“, discussions/content which will be for the “benefit of our community” and that the admins “will not edit or remove comments“. As a member of the Squamish community I am appalled at these ongoing examples of hypocrisy, lies, deception, censorship and the juvenile and emotionally driven vindictive and personal agenda, almost certainly being carried out by one person (John Jervis). We will have a tough time convincing the world we are worthy of their respect or admiration if we continue to allow, condone or passively ignore such childish and indefensible conduct. Nothing will change in our community if we simply ignore these examples of the worst things about Squamish. Unfortunately, I fear most people will likely just ignore this embarrassing and indefensible example of the worst of Squamish. I believe, this is part of our problem and will continue to hold us back unless we stand together, collectively and assertively against mediocrity and these examples of the worst that Squamish has to offer the world.