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The Murder of Lindsay Buziak

March 24/2002 Lindsay Buziak Murder – Mayor Richard Atwell vs Saanich Police


Richard Atwell ran for mayor for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was because he felt the people of Saanich needed a mayor who listened, a mayor who was approachable and a mayor who would work collaboratively with others. He wanted decisions to be made through an open and transparent process and he wanted to be accountable to the people.

Atwell was a Apple developer who at one time had worked with Apple in California year. For two years prior to the election he was a key member of the Sewage Treatment Action Group, which fought against the Capital Reginal District’s plan to build a sewage treatment plant at Esquimalt’s McLoughlin Point. Richard was fully focused on the sewage and it was a full time job fighting the CRD. It was said by many who knew him that Richard always looked for an appropriate process, was open, and always made sure the community was part of the solution.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins, admired Atwell for his well-researched criticism of the CRD’s sewage treatment plan. She also opposed the plant and its location in her municipality and Esquimalt’s council ended up refusing to give the needed rezoning for the facility.

During the October 2014 election the Saanich Police and firefighter unions threw their support behind Mayor Frank Leonard.

This was perceived as a conflict of interest by Leonard’s opponent Richard Atwell, and rightly so. The police are supposed to be neutral but clearly this was not the case. Leonard chaired the Saanich police board, so accepting endorsements from the union that represents police officers is highly questionable. This was the second campaign where Leonard sought and received the endorsement from police and fire unions. An investigation determined that the actions by the Saanich Police Association did not contravene the campaign financing or election advertising rules in the “Local Elections Campaign Financing Act” (LECFA).

At the time, Todd Lamb was acting as the Vice-President of the Saanich Police Association. He announced the association’s endorsement of former Mayor Frank Leonard, and this was not in his capacity as a serving member of the Saanich Police Department. A number of public complaints were filed with the Office of the Police Complaints Commission but no action was ever taken.


During the campaign it had been brought to the public’s attention that Frank Leonard had missed 102 meetings at the CRD Board and the core area liquid management committee, the board that oversees regional sewage treatment. Leonard’s excuse for not attending, was that he was exercising “an abundance of caution” as his son worked for a multi-national company that bid and won sewage related contracts. If Leonard really believed his presence at those meeting could be considered a conflict of interest, why didn’t he resign from those committees? Leonard was also involved with the BC Pension Board which owned shares in Conix, another bidding sewage firm.

Saanich, under Frank Leonard, Coell, Couvellier and other earlier mayors had developed a very incestuous culture within the administration of Saanich. The Leonard insiders “old boy’s club” knew damn well that if Richard Atwell was elected as the new mayor of Saanich, nothing would ever be the same. It is most evident that the Saanich Police did not want to see change, was it because they were all cozy with Frank Leonard and liked the way business was being done?


Atwell squeaked out a win, taking 51% of the votes, 1000 more votes than his opponent Frank Leonard. This sent electric vibes through campaign headquarters, his team had fought hard for this victory. During Frank Leonard’s 18 year tenure, he acted as if he owned the municipality and there were many Saanich residents who did not like his high and mighty attitude. The results of the election showed that many residents of Saanich were tired of Frank Leonard’s leadership and wanted change, tired of the Leonard way of doing business.

Frank Leonard’s often repeated contention that there was no swell of support for unification was not the truth. 7 out of 8 municipalities marked their ballots in favor of something amalgamation related – the vote was 88.5 in favor. Was Leonard’s leadership out of touch with what the people wanted or was this just Frank Leonard wanting to do it “the Leonard way”?

Election 2014: Leonard gets police, fire union endorsements – Saanich News

THE TIMES COLONIST – BILL CLEVERLEY, MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS REPORTER FOR THE TIMES COLONIST The Times Colonist was always very protective of Frank Leonard’s private life. Then why is it that when Frank Leonard was having an affair with City Counsellor Jackie Ngai back in 2008 the Times Colonist never once published a story about his divorce, his marriage to Ngai, or how the two politicians became a couple in the first place? The rumors of Leonard’s affair had circulated throughout the community for a long time, and everyone knew that Ngai had conceived Frank’s child.

Why weren’t questions asked as to whether their relationship in anyway conflicted with their duties as elected officials? Seemingly, when it came to Frank Leonard – what happens behind close doors was off limits. If the Times Colonist was so hell bent on protecting Frank Leonard’s private life, why did they maliciously go after the private life of Mayor Richard Atwell when he had a brief affair? The Times Colonist’s negative coverage of Richard Atwell only gave fuel to the Saanich Police and Saanich City Councillors who were already out to get Richard.


The Saanich Police set their sights on destroying Atwell’s career as Mayor before it even got off the ground. But Atwell dug in and fought back hard. He was the victim of spying and police harassment, and treated very poorly when chairing the police board. The Saanich Police pulled Atwell over on four different occasions, two of which the officer administered a road-side breathalyzer test. He blew a reading of O both times.

The Saanich Police and the Municipality wanted to see Frank Leonard re-instated and that would mean doing every thing in their power to get rid of Atwell. I would like to know who the 911 operator was who took a call from Atwell on the evening of December 11th. Atwell had been in an domestic dispute altercation and decided the wise thing to do was to call 911. Who did the 911 operator tell about the call? That call was all the Saanich Police needed to step-up their attack on the new Mayor. Dirty politics indeed.

Shortly after Atwell was elected, a spyware program was detected on the Municipality providers computer. This led to the investigation by the Privacy Commissioner and Saanich was highly criticized for their actions. Yes, the Sector 360 spyware program was removed but no legal action was every taken. Shocked by what the City of Saanich had done, , an upstanding IT employee of Saanich resigned and took a job at the City of Esquimalt. Every time Atwell turned around more underhanded tactics were thrown at him. Atwell also inherited an executive assistant who just happened to be Jennifer Downie, the wife of Chief Bob Downie. Now how is that for an serious conflict of interest? Atwell was hampered in every way and impeded from making positive changes.


Did they not realize that this man would be able to spot spyware on his computer the minute he sat down in his chair and started hitting the keys? Count the keystrokes maybe?


This Times Colonist article was nothing more than a smear campaign against Richard Atwell. Bill Cleverley got significant details wrong – including the time and the circumstances of the altercation. The altercation happened at 8:00 pm, not at 11:00 like Cleverley reported. The Times Colonist never sought corroboration from other valuable sources, instead, they rushed the paper to press and onto the streets as quickly as humanly possible, knowing full-well that this would tarnish Mayor Richard Atwell’s reputation, and leave him wide open to public scrutiny.

Cleverley’s confidential sources all led back to one man, a Saanich politician with an axe to grind. The ex-mayor Frank Leonard, who was no doubt still in shock after losing to his opposing candidate Richard Atwell. If it wasn’t Frank Leonard who made the call to Cleverley, you can be sure it was one of Leonard’s insiders – and that would include someone from inside the Saanich Police Department. Dirty Politics

In his article Cleverley used the term “unnamed sources”. Well that’s all well and good Mr. Cleverley, but if you want to play that game you better be damn sure you have your facts straight – which as it turns out your slanted/bias story did not. Cleverley had a journalistic duty to say that it was Richard Atwell who had placed the call to the police – because that was an important fact that readers needed to hear. Either Cleverley did not do his homework, or he had the information in his pocket and chose not to use it. The latter is most likely.

When a politician with an axe to grind provides the Times Colonist with selective, confidential information – that politician wants that information leaked to the public as quickly as possible. is there an expectation of a favour in return? You can be damn sure there is an expectation of reciprocation.

The resulting news story might be biased in the direction of that informant’s position, in the hope there would be more prohibited information available later on. By practicing this form of journalism, Cleverley and the Times Colonist were in a serious conflict of interest. Their primary responsibility was to their readers, not to the hidden agenda of some politician or cop with an axe to grind. This was a vindictive act of revenge conjured up by Frank Leonard and the old boy’s club cronies, some deeply imbedded within the Saanich Police Department.

the Times Colonist portrayed Atwell as a danger to the public purse carelessly overstepping the boundaries of his office.

The paper made no serious attempt to get Atwell’s side of the story; they provided no context for the reader to understand fully why Murray was eligible for the generous payout he received, and how that compared with other recent local cases. Cleverley’s use of unnamed sources—who likely were one or more councilors breaching their public oath of confidentiality—is in itself dangerous to the public interest.

The Editor-In Chief David Obee made an attempt at justifying why the paper had published the January 5th story of Atwell’s altercation. He stated, “Atwell’s private life became public news because a line was crossed. When private matters might affect an elected person’s ability to do the job, the public has a right to know. Obee was desperately grasping at straws in order to defend Bill Cleverley’s article, but what he said made no sense at all, and the public was smart enough to see exactly what was going on here. Did the public need to know when Atwell went home sick, did they need to know when he was out of town on a family matter? No, sure as hell they did not. So why did they need to know about the altercation Atwell was involved in on that January 5th evening?



Saanich saw positive changes during Atwell’s tenure, the videoing and archiving of Council Meetings was most welcomed by the residents of Saanich who had been fighting for this for years. And, Atwell was responsible for the rescinding on any onerous and misguided EDPA permit by-law which was undergoing changes at the time his team ended.

Mayor Richard Atwell, Councillor Susan Brice, Fred Haynes, Karen Harper and Leif Wergeland confirmed their votes last month when council meeting as committee-of-the-whole rescinded the by-law 4-1 following a public hearing. Counscillors Judy Brownoff, Dean Murdock, Colin Plant, and Vicki Sanders voted against ending the bylaw.

Mayor Richard Atwell was a passionate hard-working individual who did his utmost to perform his duties as the Mayor of Saanich even though the Saanich Police and insiders at City Hall made his life difficult. Today Richard works in the private sector, loves what he is doing and he has never looked back. Saanich took a good man and did everything they could to drive him out. Dirty Politics

Saanich council confirms end of EDPA – Saanich News

As for the Saanich Police Department this latest police chief dean duthie is just another insider who will blend in well with “The Old Boy’s Club”.

Evidence has shown time and time again that Saanich police will protect their brothers no matter what. and they will NEVER DISCLOSE WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED. The only hope for Saanich is a merger with Victoria, and until then, “the old boy’s club” will continue to run the inner working of the Saanich Police Department and the City of Saanich. To be fair, not all Saanich Police are members of “The Old Boy’s Club”.

There are some hard-working dedicated COPS who take great pride in what they are doing at Saanich and would not protect “a brother” if they knew they were guilty of wrong-doing. Saanich is well-known for having no respect for the victims of sexual assaults, especially if the accused has a family member who was/is a Saanich cop, or a friend’s son that needed his complaint file to disappear. And that friend just happened to be a high-profile Victoria lawyer. Once a victim has filed a report of sexual assault there is one cop at Saanich who will do everything in his power to assure the accused is never charged. Many sexual offenders have walked because this cop has no respect for the women that filed a complaint. In his mind the women probably asked for it.

Yes, the “old boy’s club” is alive and well in victoria”

His name is out there and many women will know who I am talking about. He is the officer that handles the major crimes that come out of Oak Bay. To serve and protect means something to the good cops, but something entirely different to the bad ones. I’ve met some good cops that work at Saanich but I worry about how long they will be able to stay good cops when they are surrounded and influenced by the ones who are bad. There is one really good cop in that department who seriously needs to consider leaving politics behind. A good cop like him needs to focus on being only a cop and being the best he can be.

Let’s not forget that Mayor Frank Leonard never once spoke publicly about Lindsay Buziak’s murder during his tenure, nor did he attend any of the Memorial Walks for Justice that were held in her honor. When Mayor Atwell was elected into power things were very different. Richard chose to speak publicly about Lindsay’s murder and he attended the Memorial Walks for Justice in 2015 and 2016. He spoke with members of the public along the route, and was most forthcoming when someone asked him a question. I was very impressed when meeting Richard Atwell on the walk, and so were many others I talked to. He was a man of character and integrity, and those kind of men are few and far between. Every now and then I think we need to stop and remember all the good work Richard Atwell did in Saanich, especially with all the obstacles he had to overcome in his short one term in office.

EMAIL ADDRESS: murderondesousa@gmail.com

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