Watch The Incredible Paul Ives Show as he makes a 68-year-old structure disappear!
Terry Farrell examines the story of the Town of Comox’s irregularities with the Mack Laing trust fund, a generous bequeathal by a generous man to help ensure the beauty and heritage of Comox. [See “Where Has All Mack Laing’s Money Gone?” in The Record, June 23, 2016.] Half the article details the questionable financial dealings; the other half presents Mayor Paul Ives’ response to the situation.
In answer to the question of why the trust fund didn’t grow through the 1990s, Ives responds with a simple “I don’t know.” Ignorance doesn’t work in a court law, but it’s essential to the illusion of magic. Watch Paul Ives’ sleight of hand, as he then twists the legal system into an S.E. Hinton novel: “That was then, and this is now,” Ives concludes with a flourish to the question of what happened in the ’90s.
In answering the question of the Town’s responsibility for mismanagement by previous governments, Ives indeed answers both “as a lawyer” and “hypothetically”: He doesn’t answer the question at all. Instead, he diverts the question of responsibility to one of legality by putting “the entire trust fund” in a hat and ‘hypothetically’ making it disappear in legal fees if anyone is illusional enough to pursue justice through a fair trial. Now, these diversionary tactics are an old trick of both magicians and politicians: We think we’re looking at governmental responsibility but we’re watching the hat! It doesn’t even occur to us that the Town cannot spend money from one budget on another. Legal fees would come out of a legal budget. They wouldn’t come out of an environmental trust fund any more than a legal battle against a government’s mismanagement would come out of the politicians’ salaries. (Or would they? Now that’s magic I’d pay to see.)
But the grand finale to The Incredible Paul Ives Show is his ability to read the mind of a dead man! After claiming ignorance about something that can be easily verified through the Town’s records, Mayor Ives figures he knows what Mack Laing would like the Town to do with his bequeathal. Instead of wanting his homestead of Shakeshides, along with its nature drawings and photographs, to be turned into a “natural history museum on [his] former home property,” Mack Laing would likely want his money put into any old “surrounding parks rather than putting it into old structures,” according to The Incredible Paul Ives.
Comox council members better get into their sequined dresses and high heels, as they’re all assisting in this magic act, too. While I’d rather see the whole council disappear, some other vital tangibles and intangibles will disappear in the year before that show comes to town. In the meantime, we can buy tickets to this show by helping Gordon Olsen pursue the legal case to retain and maintain Shakesides and the Mack Laing Forest on behalf of the citizens (a.k.a. The Town) of Comox.