As exclusively reported by The Current earlier this week, Councillor Andrea Budarick has appealed the Decision of Justice Martin James declaring her seat on Brudenell Lyndoch and Raglan Council (BLR) vacant. Yesterday, Budarick’s lawyer Angela Chaisson of Millard & Co. (Pictured above. Photo millardco.ca) persuaded Superior Court Justice Robyn M. Ryan Bell to grant a temporary stay of Justice James’ order. The stay extends to Friday, Dec.3 when the Court will hear full argument on Budarick’s request that the stay remains in place until her appeal is heard in January 2022.
On November 22, 2021, Justice James had ruled that Budarick’s participation in discussions related to fire department billing constituted an attempt to reduce an administrative charge applied to her son in 2019 and therefore contravened the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act. As a penalty the judgement ordered that Budarick’s seat be declared vacant as of 28 November 2021.
The appeal filed by Budarick’s legal team (Click HERE to see the Notice of Appeal) identifies six areas where it is argued that Justice James erred in his decision and seeks to have the judgement set aside. The Notice includes the following ground: “The application judge erred in failing to consider the circumstantial evidence which contradicted his conclusion. [Budarick] made no attempt to hide her conflict; on the contrary she declared it over email, in writing at the start of meetings, and orally. She sought advice from numerous sources. These actions clearly contradict the inference that the [she] recklessly breached her obligations intentionally or knowingly. Rather, they show [Budarick] was extremely concerned and took many steps to avoid breaching her obligations.”
It also contends that BLR’s Integrity Commissioner, Peggy Young-Lovelace of E4m, who was responsible for bringing the application against Budarick in the first place, was herself in breach of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act (MCIA) through failing to comply with the deadline for bringing such applications.