Martin demands Anton apologize

  • Mar. 28, 2015 6:00 p.m.

By Stacey MarpleHaida Gwaii ObserverQueen Charlotte Mayor Greg Martin, has come out swinging after Consumer Protection B.C. effectively eliminated funeral services on Haida Gwaii.In an email exchange, obtained by the Observer, between Mayor Martin and Anita Nadziejko, a B.C. government senior policy and legislation analyst, Mayor Martin made clear his opposition to the agency’s decision to issue a cease-and-desist order to George Westwood, who while unlicenced, had volunteered his services to the community for decades.Ms. Nadziejko approached Mayor Martin to arrange a teleconference with the Minister of Justice Suzanne Anton, “to review information about funeral director services in your community”.Mr. Martin replied plainly that the Village of Queen Charlotte no longer has any funeral director services to review. “If your intent was to assist my community in regaining such service, then of course I am interested. But before we can conduct a meaningful and constructive dialogue, there is some misinformation that needs to be corrected,” Martin stated in a reply email.Mayor Martin pointed out that Mr. Westwood’s volunteer services were and are highly-valued and appreciated by the communities on Haida Gwaii. The websites of both Consumer Protection B.C and funeral service Industry claim their purpose is to protect the interests of consumers from preying, unscrupulous commercial interests. “Such hypocrisy!” Mr. Martin wrote. “Consumer Protection B.C should be rebranded to Corporate Protection B.C. They’re certainly not protecting our consumers.”Mayor Martin goes on to explain the claims that George Westwood  was acting and charging people for funeral service is unsupported. Mr. Martin demanded an apology from the Ministry of Justice and the agent involved in the situation, for the falsehood of the claims against Mr. Westwood. While it is the law in B.C that all citizens must abide by and obey the business practices and Consumer Protection Act (BCCPA), the Cremation Interment and Funeral Services Act (CIFSA) and the Cremation Interment Funeral Services Regulation (CIFSR), Mr. Martin said in the email that these three statues, all have been used to effectively bully Mr. Westwood.”Since these laws are imperfect and have harmed the common good, why not revise them? Why has the B.C. government downloaded its responsibility to enforce its law and regulations to a “non-profit society” that has proven, in at least this case, to be a servant of corporate interests? “This parallels this government’s disastrous downloading decision to create “arms-length” B.C Ferries Corporation, supported by tax dollars and totally unaccountable. The Minister is absolutely wrong to claim that consumer protection B.C is enforcing its own requirements here. Consumer Protection is enforcing statutes and regulation created by the B.C Provincial Legislature.”Mr. Martin also suggests Ms. Anton’s claim, that the person who filed the complaint against Mr. Westwood with Consumer Protection was a private funeral-services provider on Haida Gwaii, was not suitable, was insulting and defamatory. “The Minister owes George Westwood  an apology,” he said.

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