COMMENT: The Jason Ward sideshow, or, is there fire where there's smoke?

Rosa Jordan
By Rosa Jordan
January 9th, 2013

Suddenly everyone seems to be clamoring about the fact that one Jason George Ward of Port Alberni pleaded guilty to having a grow-op on his property. It seems to me that before a lynch mob is formed, several questions ought to be asked, and if possible, answered.

The first is whether that Jason George Ward is “our” Jason Ward; the one
who was hired by then CAO Ron Campbell as a Building Inspector in July
2008. If it is the same person…

Here in a town where many folks of all ages use marijuana, and where many like myself don’t use it but think it should be decriminalized, isn’t it a tad hypocritical to get upset about the hiring of someone who admitted to it being grown on his property? And if you don’t think illegal cultivation should be tolerated, doesn’t it follow that it was a good thing for him to switch to a more socially acceptable line of work?

Wherever you stand on that issue, isn’t it more to the point to ask exactly what qualifications a recently-busted former teacher had that convinced Rossland’s then-CAO Ron Campbell to hire him as the city’s Building Inspector?

Or what qualifications Jason Ward might have had that led the next CAO, Victor Kumar, to give him a $9,500 raise and promote him to Manager of Infrastructure and Facilities? (This after firing the more qualified city engineer Mike Thomas for–what was the rationale for that again?)

Or why, when Kathy Moore and Laurie Charlton went to Council with the information that CAO Kumar and/or Ward himself had given Ward’s company more than $185,000 in untendered contracts, Council politely accepted Ward’s resignation and didn’t object to his prompt rehiring as a
subcontractor on the downtown renovation project?

With all these unanswered questions hanging in the air, and citizens raging across cyberspace about Jason Ward’s presumed criminality, does that mean Rosslanders are ready to form a lynch mob to hang our former Manager of Infrastructure and Facilities from one of Rossland’s newly-installed $20,000 lamp posts?

And if citizens feel it is, shouldn’t Rossland’s two former CAOS (if they can be found) be strung up alongside him? And perhaps several senior staff members who certainly had knowledge of what was going down and didn’t report it? And of course, members of Council–past and present–who gave CAO Kumar near total power to give outrageously long employment contracts at outrageously high wages, hand out construction contracts, and approve all building application permits without prior review by Council–shouldn’t those Council members end up swinging from lamp posts as well?

Haha. I’m kidding, of course. Rosslanders don’t lynch mayors, members of
city council, or senior city staff who run amok. We don’t even circulate petitions or converge on City Hall to demand accountability. We just go skiing, and later, settle down with like-minded folk and have a drink.

Or a toke.

Rosa Jordan is a Rossland-based writer and novelist.

Categories: Op/Ed

Other News Stories