On June 29th 2011, I sat as a witness in a court room to hear freedom of speech and democratic political discussion brought down to the level of lawyers arguing semantics. An ex-part time local little politician who chose to make himself a spokesperson for the local government that has little to no care for the ordinary citizens, felt hurt when the truth was raised as a question in a newsletter. The judge refused to accept or to listen to the most relevant evidence, and a lawyer who submitted on behalf of his client a picture of wow and hurt feelings.
Andrew Gill ex-part time City of St. Catharines councillor, and a wanna be Federal Liberalista (to set the record straight Andrew Gill came in third in his attempt to represent the Federal Liberal Party in the Federal Election 2011), claimed that Mr. Preston Haskell had said Gill made decisions as return favours for political contributions by a developer. Andrew Gill claimed that he had not known the developer, one Len Pennachetti, and that Pennachetti had never contributed to his campaign nor to the Liberal Party. Andrew Gill then said how as a councillor he had made all his decisions with the constituents in heart. He went on to say how hurtful this was.
Preston Haskell in fact wrote these words, and I quote directly from the newsletter: “Is it appropriate for Niagara Falls Firefighter, Federal Liberal Candidate, and City of St. Catharines Councillor, Andrew Gill to endorse the enhancement in value of any adjacent property, particularly if it benefits a political supporter/developer.” At no stage do these words claim that this developer had been a contributor of Andrew Gill. Preston Haskell does say “a political supporter/developer.” Len Pennachetti is a political supporter of the head of the City of St. Catharines Council!! Mayor McMullan had received a maximum contribution from Len Pennachetti in the 2006 election campaign and 2 maximum dollar contributions under 2 different corporate names in the 2010 election campaign. The evidence that proved this fact was refused to be entered on record by the judge. This judge could not see the relevance of the fact that the developer was indeed a political supporter!
Andrew Gill chose to speak on behalf of the City of St. Catharines government. It was not the first or last time either. In the Friday October 15th 2010 Standard, Andrew Gill again puts his foot and mouth forward to speak on behalf of the Mayor, Mayor Brian McMullan and the City Council. Andrew Gill said and is quoted “I think he owes an apology not only to the mayor, but to councillors, to city staff. He owes the whole city an apology.” (This was an unrelated matter to Gill's current claims against Haskell.) No other councillor spoke or was quoted here either. It was only Andrew Gill and as with the comments of the developer it was only Gill. Len Penachetti announced his plans on the front page of The Standard on Friday October 8th 2010. Is it possible to make plans for such a development and keep it a secret from city councillors? Is it possible for a Councillor who claims to have the benefit of his constituents at heart not to know that such a development was planned in his ward? This was your ward Andrew Gill? True in court you were confused on the boundary, facing the facts can be alarming and confusing eh.
Yet this was not enough for Andrew Gill. Andrew Gill a man who painted a picture of himself as being hurt by these nasty words then attacked mayorgate.blogspot.com and therefore me. Andrew Gill said on record that nasty words hurt an honourable person serving the people and defended Councillor Jennie Stevens and Mayor McMullan against Mayorgate. You made it clear Andrew Gill that you were fully aware of the corrupt act by Councillor Jennie Stevens and Mayor McMullan and defended them. Andrew Gill so hurt by questions, by the truth defends another Councillor who committed a corrupt act. Now maybe Andrew Gill you'll find a problem with me stating facts. After all it is a matter of court record. Maybe your lawyer Christopher Bittle of Lancaster, Brooks & Welch can now come after me.
You Mr. Bittle referred to a “kernel of truth” yet you refused to hear an 'ear' full of fact. You naturally objected to have the financial records of Mayor McMullan entered on record as it would blow your case out of the court room. It proved Pennachetti was indeed a political supporter and to the head of the City Council and the boss to little Andrew Gill! I would even ask the question how damaging would it of been with an election only a few months away to have Preston Haskell raise such questions? Andrew Gill wasn't running again for council. It was Mayor McMullan who praised the development in his all-candidates 'debate' on October 6th. It was Mayor McMullan praising Len Pennachetti's 'dream,' making many promises for the future. A mind with a modicum of intelligence when faced with all the facts can only raise questions? The nature of democracy is to question. The enemy of democracy is censorship. Facts were censored in court Mr. Bittle, facts.
Now one who questions would wonder why a Small Claims Court issue would warrant the front page for The Standard and such a giant of journalism as Doug Herod. Although once again Doug Herod only writes what he wants. Facts were not going to be heard only a picture painted of a hurt ex-councillor Andrew Gill. Was it for a purpose? One can only speculate I guess. But I do ask if a Small Claims Court case warranted the front page surely all the facts were necessary?
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