Open letter to MV residents

Editor’s Note: The following open letter to MV residents was submitted to all three Valley newspapers on Oct.3 by MV mayoral candidate Roger Prince. In his covering email, Prince said: “I was motivated to write this Letter to the Editor in response to being questioned at the recent All Candidate’s meeting about the figure I quoted for legal cost in the matter between The Current and The Township. As you will see from the Letter, this cost information is publicly available on the Township website. I feel it is important that the ratepayers, your readers, have these facts prior to the Oct 24 election in order to make an informed decision.”

An open letter to the residents of Madawaska Valley Township

Much has been said about the financial numbers associated with the legal proceedings between The Current and The Township. The following identifies reported costs published on the Township website and in the findings of the court.

The legal proceedings began in 2019. The October 19th, 2021, Township minutes detail a Report to Council outlining legal cost submissions to Wishart Law in these proceedings of $330,751.02.

The court ruled in favour of The Current. The Township appealed this decision and lost. The unsuccessful appeal has added further costs since the October 19th 2021 Report to Council.

The effect of the Township’s delaying actions has certainly frustrated Justice Doyle’s intent that “the public interest” be served. We will not know until after the municipal election in October, how much compensation will be paid in damages, thereby depriving voters of learning whether the current Council acted in the public interest, as opposed to their own interests. It will also add significantly to the amount that has already been paid to Wishart Law.

In addition, Wishart Law has been dismissed and a new firm hired to represent the Township. This will place an even greater cost burden on the Township as the new firm reviews all that has happened to date.

Last year’s Superior Court decision, upheld by the Court of Appeal, is a good point of reference in the unethical conduct of this current council. In reading the 47-page decision by the judge, Justice Doyle went so far as to state “I find that the plaintiffs have suffered more than minimal or nominal damages” Justice Doyle went on to say; “If the conduct of the public officials here is found to be particularly egregious, an award of aggravated or punitive damages may also be made”.

As the lawsuit originally commenced by The Current includes claims for aggravated or punitive damages, Justice Doyle is clearly signaling that the members of Council and MV Township are at risk in having to pay such damages.

The Mayor has said that all the legal costs have been paid by the Township’s insurer. However, insurance policies do not usually indemnify the insured against liability for intentional conduct as is the subject of this lawsuit. The Current has asked Wishart Law and the Insurer for an explanation, but to date they have not responded.

Regardless, the Township will likely be faced with a significant rate hike or a loss of coverage by the current carrier and a potential reversal of claims purportedly paid by the insurer, which would fall on the taxpayer.

In addition to the final settlement (to be determined), this has been a substantial waste of time, effort, and resources on the part of the Mayor, all Council members and Township staff.

Ultimately, the taxpayer will bear the burden of costs associated with a lawsuit pursued by this Council that could have been settled with an apology and a $500 donation to our local hospital.


Roger Prince, Barry’s Bay


  1. Pingback: Muzzled MV media helps muddy the waters – Prince unhappy about news suppression in The Leader and Valley Gazette | Madawaska Valley Current

  2. Dan Olshen

    Barb’s comment echo a lot of the voter sentiment in the MV. Roger is a breath of fresh air on the local political scene, and from his performance at the Legion Meeting et al for mayoral candidates – he is a professional we desperately need to replace the stagnation and lack of stewardship of the last decade that has become the status quo here.

  3. Barbara Cardwell

    Well said, Roger! Our mayor and council have behaved so incredibly poorly in this matter. They couldn’t handle the fact that the Current was factually reporting on their unprofessional and downright childish antics. Their extensive efforts to discredit the Current’s publishers and block them from even attending council meetings has been disgusting.

    It’s time for a clean sweep – I certainly hope that none of the current (or recent past) councillors are back after this election. They seem to have completely forgotten who they actually work for and haven’t done us any favours. New faces will also bring new ideas to address some of the ongoing challenges of our township. Many of our current councillors are using the lack of council experience as the excuse for why we shouldn’t vote in new incumbents, but they all started without previous experience too, We have so many new people stepping up and willing to serve – let’s give them a chance to show us what they can do.

    • Thank you Barb, My promise to you and all residents of MV Township is to be open, transparent and communicate in multiple ways to keep taxpayers informed. All members of council serve the residents and need to govern with integrity and respect

  4. Gilbert J Glofcheskie

    This problem has been a burden on the rate payers and also the reputation of our beautiful community .
    Just imagine how these dollars could have put to better use .
    Thank You Roger Prince for the truth !

  5. Eve-Marie Chamot

    Is anyone proposing solutions to prevent this from happening again?
    Bigger municipalities such as the City of Toronto have their own city solicitor’s department
    to provide in-house legal counsel and this restrains city councillors from running up huge legal bills over little issues.
    Perhaps the County of Renfrew should establish its own county solicitor’s office to provide in-house legal services to local municipalities on a charge-back basis with outside legal firms being brought in only as necessary.
    The County should also select an integrity commissioner for all its member municipalities since that is another area where local Councils seem to incur outsized legal costs.
    Wishart Law was not a good choice to act for the Township in this particular matter since their expertise is mainly in specialized municipal law:- a local civil-practice firm could have handled this case more efficiently and economically.

  6. Patricia Scott

    Well stated, Roger. One way or another, every resident of MV will likely pay for this lawsuit, directly or with enormous rate increases on our policies going forward, if in fact it is Intact paying at the moment. I wonder if Intact looks at what is going on in the courts and calls this frivolous? This is a disgrace that this went to court st all. I have hidden my cheque book as I am concerned where we go from here. I understand there is a change in law firms representing the Municipality. It makes me wonder if Intact said they were done? So many questions and very few answers. Makes one wonder what there is to hide?

  7. John Hildebrandt

    I also wrote to Intact Insurance seeking an explanation for the huge amount of legal costs but have yet to receive a reply. All of this mess could have been settled for just an apology and $500.00 to a charity of his choice. Shame!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top
Comment Rules

  • Please show respect to the opinions of others no matter how seemingly far-fetched.
  • Abusive, foul language, and/or divisive comments may be deleted without notice.
  • In order to avoid confusion in the community, commenters must provide their full name (first and last) and a valid email address.
  • Comments must be limited to the number of words displayed above the comment box.

Verified by MonsterInsights