Ann Farquharson is not only a former Councillor, but a lawyer. She wouldn’t be allowed to blithely throw around unsupported allegations in a courtroom; and given that her term on Council, and profession, grants her a higher degree of credibility than the average citizen, she shouldn’t be doing it anywhere else.
On March 27th, Farquharson made a serious allegation against senior staff. Apparently, she was “advised” that staff suppressed a report to Council so the developer could obtain demolition permits. She goes on to say, “If this is true, it would be both disappointing and shocking”.
What’s disappointing and shocking is a lawyer publicly alleging that senior staff abused their positions, and one paragraph down, intimating that she doesn’t know if there’s a grain of truth to it.
On March 29th, Farquharson targets the developer. She provides nothing to back up her claim that he threatened to cancel the project if the properties were designated. I’ve spoken with the developer, who is baffled as to how she arrived at that conclusion.
He advised that he spoke with several members of Council — including those who didn’t vote in favour of the motion — and at no time did he state, or imply, that he’d cancel the project if the properties were designated. Calls to Councillors were to provide clarity and input on redevelopment plans.
On the estimated development cost of $20 million, it passes understanding that Farquharson considered the library a comparable project. There’s no similarity between them — this project proposes residential units and commercial space. Cost comparisons with the “Y” project, while not ideal, are certainly more reasonable. Farquharson’s dislike of the proposed project doesn’t justify an attempt to publicly discredit the developer by using an unsuitable comparable to cast doubt on his estimated investment.
Farquharson has practised law in this city for many years. The higher standard attached to the profession perceives her as standing for fact and truth. Instead, she’s opted to pepper her opinions with inaccuracies, personal attacks, and innuendo.
Any argument that she is speaking as a private citizen rings hollow. Media consistently refer to her as either a lawyer or former Councillor. However, it’s her profession, not a one term stint on Council, which strengthens her credibility.
We look to lawyers to provide us with facts and opinions. What they tell us goes to the heart of an informed decision. We rely on them because we know that dealing in fact is their stock and trade. Facts matter to lawyers. They are trusted with them, and to provide them. The weight of that implicit trust is borne by lawyers both professionally and personally.
Facts should matter to Ms. Farquharson when she speaks to us — because like her colleagues, she’ll always be first perceived as a lawyer.