The Deep River town council should be praised for taking action toward restructuring the fire department over the past few years, aiming to achieve a safer and more cost effective fire protection. However, implementing needed change often comes with public criticism, especially when vested interests are affected. Larry Dumoulin’s accusations against the Mayor, published in the North Renfrew Times (NRT) last week, are not surprising when seen in this light. I will not repeat them here, as they are, or at least border on, slander.
Let’s keep our public discussion civil. There’s no need to impinge anyone’s character.
My remarks to the NRT calling out Dumoulin’s inappropriate statements are below. The resources I referred to are here:
- Deep River press release re: Changes in Fire Protection Model (includes Fire Chief Rob Shaw’s July 12, 2017 report, quoted material starts at the bottom of the first page of Shaw’s report)
RE: New complaint filed against mayor
While all citizens have right to fair comment, Larry Dumoulin’s accusations against the Mayor reported on last week’s NRT cross the line by dismissing any possible explanation for her comments to the CBC other than malintent.
At time of writing, I have not been able to access a recording of the radio program in question to get the context, which may be critical to evaluate many specifics of Dumoulin’s claims; however, his accusation that the Mayor’s statement about the Deep River fire fighters not responding to pages “is without foundation” and has “no basis in fact” is clearly false.
Former Fire Chief Rob Shaw wrote in a public report to Council dated July 12, 2017: “The DRFFA President has made it clear they are not obligated to carry pagers as they are not paid to and advised the Chief at least one firefighter does not take the pager home and others take them home but do not take them with them or monitor the pagers as they do not want to be bothered. On average over the past several years a department wide page has resulted in less than five members of the department attending the scene including the two on duty.”
The written testimony of the fire chief, subsequently published by the town as background to a media release, constitutes a foundation and a basis in fact for the Mayor’s comments.
Having exposed the falsity of Dumoulin’s accusation, should I now, as Dumoulin does with the Mayor, attribute an intent to deceive and humiliate?
Certainly not! Even though Dumoulin is a self-professed watchdog of our municipal government and has clearly followed the issues closely, there is no need to eliminate the possibility that Dumoulin made a mistake.
Or perhaps he doesn’t believe the fire chief and thus didn’t consider the report to be evidence.
Other possible explanations could be advanced, without recourse to the gutter Dumoulin is dragging the public discussion into.
I uphold Dumoulin’s right to express his opinion, but in this case, I believe he has gone too far.
All documents referred to in this letter will be available on my website: danielbanks.ca.
Daniel Banks, former deputy mayor of Deep River