Did shadowy group subvert democracy?

Dear editor,
ust returned from a stay in the Maritimes, I was surprised to learn of a shadowy group that has sprung up out of nowhere.

Dear editor,Having just returned from a lengthy stay in the Maritimes, I was scanning through a backlog of local papers and was surprised to learn about a shadowy group that seems to have sprung up out of nowhere to play a major part in our civic elections.Common Sense (CS), as they call themselves, seems to be comprised of a spokesperson and mysterious, anonymous and evidently wealthy individuals who spent copious amounts of money and endorsed a number of candidates, some of whom went on to be elected on Nov. 19.I have to admit I’m stumped. Who is comox Valley Common Sense?Recently crowned Courtenay Mayor Jangula is quoted as saying he likely knows who they are but won’t divulge their identities. Why not? What does Larry Jangula owe the CS group for their endorsement? Is he a member himself?Repeated attempts by numerous individuals and local media to get information on CS have been met with obfuscation and denial. So who has deep pockets, prefers anonymity, uses “front” organizations to maintain that anonymity and would clearly benefit from having local politicians in their pocket? Some have suggested the CS group might be funded by large players in the real estate and development business who stand to gain handsomely from having councillors in Comox and Courtenay willing to do their bidding.  As Jean Rowe alluded in her post-election letter to the editor, it seems some local politicians already operate on a quid pro quo basis with something called the “old boys net.”Who are these “old boys?” I’m obviously naïve but I was always under the impression that elected representatives were bound to represent the citizens and the best interests of the community … not a tiny minority of shadowy but well-connected people.A few politicians likely owe their victory to the CS group; are these CS-backed councillors now taking their marching orders from this secretive collective? It would be interesting for all recently elected councillors to state publicly their relationship to this suspect organization.  It’s also quite surprising this group possibly had (illegal) access to voters’ lists in order to disseminate their mailings.Who would have access to a provincial party list? MLA Don McRae has publicly denied that any of his office’s resources were used during the civic campaign.As well, what role did Conservative John Duncan’s office play in the civic election? If a federal voters list was used, could it have come from his office? Does he or any of his staff have connections to CS? Are the federal Conservatives using their organization to skew civic elections?I hope that a few citizens of Courtenay and Comox — or possibly some of the defeated council candidates — lodge a formal complaint with the proper authorities. Hopefully the matter can be investigated not only by Elections BC and Elections Canada but by the RCMP as well.Anonymous groups who attempt to buy elections and politicians subvert democracy. The citizens of Courtenay, Comox and the entire Comox Valley deserve some answers.B. Brandt,Black Creek

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