Presidential Candidate

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A.M. (Abdul) Mousa, P.Eng. | Coquitlam, BC

This candidate has been nominated by 25 members of the Association.

Dr. Abdul Mousa, Specialist Electrical Engineer, is a recognized expert in high voltage power line design and lightning protection. He saw it as his moral obligation to protect life and property of the public when these became endangered by claims of the vendors of non-conventional lightning protection systems, which he and many other experts believed to be false. Mousa continued that campaign for many years despite attempts of the vendors to silence him by threatening to sue his employer. In his quest to fulfill that moral obligation, he launched legal action against the IEEE upon discovering that it included in Standard 998 a vendor’s design method which lightning experts believed to be invalid.

Mousa was dismayed when EGBC attempted to impose Continuing Professional Development (CPD) in 2015. The administrators of the Association apparently do not know what it takes to be competent in technical matters. Mousa found it unacceptable that those bureaucrats are going to tell the profession, including thousands of experts like himself, how to become competent. Hence he waged a campaign against both the CPD Bylaw and the wasteful financial practices of the Association. His message resonated with fellow members and they nominated him for the position of Vice President in the 2015 election.

Mousa’s campaign helped in decisively defeating the 2015 CPD Bylaw (56% cast negative votes), but he did not get elected. He then helped with the reform campaigns in 2016 & 2017. He also organized a petition asking Council not to amend the Engineers and Geoscientists Act (the “Act”) unless the amendments have first been approved by the membership via a referendum.

So far, the success of the reform campaign has been limited because Council has been dominated by persons who reflect the position of the establishment that nominated them. Today, the need for reform is greater than ever as the ideal of self-governance by the profession has in effect been replaced by governance by the Registrar. Hence I am again running for election, my objective being to keep the spirit of reform alive and to give disenchanted members the opportunity to express their protest by voting for me.

Highlights of my platform follow and more details are available on my web site:

  1. Ending EGBC’s suppression of dissent, including the rules prohibiting Council & Committee members from publicly expressing dissenting opinions and the Registrar’s power to censor the statements of election candidates.
  2. Enabling the members to speak up without fear of retaliation by eliminating the powers of oppression which EGBC wields against them.
  3. Restoring personal accountability by publicizing how each Council & Committee member voted on every resolution, who made every motion, and requiring every Association announcement to be signed by the responsible EGBC member.
  4. Breaking the establishment’s hold on Council by suspending the Nomination Committee and requiring all candidates to be nominated by the membership.
  5. No amendments are to be made to the Act, regarding CPD or otherwise, unless first approved by two thirds of the members via a referendum.
  6. Restoring members’ right to vote on any proposed fee increases.
  7. Recognizing that the right to self-governance is vested in the membership and that Council is hence obliged to comply with the wishes of the majority of the members.
  8. Limiting expenditure by EGBC by focusing on its main tasks, avoiding trivial pursuits like branding, limiting expenditures on legal services, and opening its books to interested members.
  9. The Government’s Professional Reliance Report proposes that all Council members be appointed by the government. We urgently need to restore true self-governance to give our members the incentive to rise and defend it.
  10. EGBC’s response to the above Report should be as follows: a) Promptly requiring an independent review of the work of only the small percentage of its members who work in resource development when their work impacts public safety. b) Insisting that restoring a reasonable level of government oversight over resource development would adequately fix the perceived problems.

Education

Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering), University of British Columbia, 1986

Professional History

Consultant, 2008–present
Specialist Electrical Engineer, BC Hydro, 1978–2008

Engineers and Geoscientists BC Activities

Vice Presidential Candidate, 2015

Related Professional Activities

Published 151 papers, IEEE & International Conferences on Lightning Protection (ICLP), 1976–present
Reviewer for journals of IEEE & ICLP, 1990–present
Co-moderator of the Yahoo group on Lightning Protection, 2000–present
Member, IEEE & CIGRE Committees on Lightning Protection of Power Lines & Substations, 1989–2017

Community Involvement

President & Founder, Muslim Awkaf Foundation of B.C (Charity #738904127RR0001), 2017–present
Donated $160,000 to create scholarships in Applied Science, University of British Columbia, 2016

Awards and Honours

Exceptional Reviewer Certificate, IEEE-PES, 2015
Outstanding Engineer Award, PES Chapter – IEEE Vancouver, 2007
Lightning Safety Award, National Lightning Safety Institute (USA), 2001
Fellow, IEEE, 1995

WEB LINK: www.abdulmousa.ca


Q&A with Candidates

Engineers and Geoscientists BC is the regulatory authority charged with protecting the public interest with respect to the practice of engineering and geoscience in the province of BC. What is the key challenge facing Engineers and Geoscientists BC?

The public is protected provided that: a) Only applicants who meet the required minimum qualifications are granted membership, and; 2) Members uphold the Code of Ethics. Both the level of expertise of members and the degree of complexity of technical assignments vary widely. The public is protected as long as each member only undertakes assignments that are within his/her scope of competence, and this is a requirement of the Code of Ethics.

Requirement (a) above has always been met via the Association’s rigorous admittance procedure, and our discipline process has always addressed violations of the Code of Ethics. Hence the public has always been protected and there are no challenges facing this Association. If some external stakeholders think otherwise, then the Association ought to educate them, not appease them.

Despite statutory prohibitions, there will always be persons who cause accidents by driving while not sober. Similarly, there is no way to prevent all EGBC members from violating the Code of Ethics. It is unfortunate that some such incidents cause catastrophic failures. Such events are few and far between, and the only way for redress, in addition to discipline by EGBC, is for the victims to sue the offenders to recover the damages. It makes no sense to seek to punish the whole profession for the sins of a few. Regarding the remaining Ethics violations, it may help if EGBC paid to individual victims the fines which it collects from the offenders, instead of pocketing that money.

What are the key issues facing the engineering and/or geoscience professions?

The issue facing technical professionals has not changed: gaining the in-depth knowledge needed to grow & undertake higher professional responsibilities. However, matters have been complicated by recent developments, namely:

  1. We previously wrote our own computation algorithms based on solid personal knowledge of applied science, and programmed them where necessary. Hence we were able to confidently put our names behind results of our computations, and accept professional responsibility for the work. Today most use commercial software written by others. The challenge is for the user to investigate the underlying theory, be satisfied of its validity, and that it actually produces correct results.
  2. Our work requires searching the literature to get comprehensive knowledge of the subject, wading through conflicting opinions, and determining which is credible. That involved going to the library and searching through volumes of journals. Today most think that “googling it” would do. Hence they end getting lots of garbage mixed with a few useful documents, and miss a lot of the relevant literature. The challenge is to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of the matter.
  3. Today people got addicted to their electronic gadgets, with their work day repeatedly interrupted by frequent checking of their email, social media, trivial texting & tweeting, etc. No one can reach in-depth knowledge of anything this way. The challenge is disciplining ourselves not to open those gadgets too often.

Some administrators think that the challenges are external because they do not really understand how the profession works.

Looking five years ahead, what is your vision for Engineers and Geoscientists BC as a professional regulatory body in BC?

The Legislature found it appropriate to adopt the self-regulation model for engineering and geoscience because the matter involves technical issues which are best judged by the practitioners in those fields. As noted above, “regulation” means deciding who is entitled to admission and disciplining those who commit ethics violations. In return, we were asked to bear the cost of regulation via annual membership dues, but also given control over the finances of our Association via the right to vote on any dues increase.

Members lost control over the finances of their Association in 2010 when the Act was amended, at the behest of the Association, to enable Council to unilaterally set the annual fee. Subsequent policy changes by the Association caused more powers of the members to be gradually taken away and concentrated in the hands of Council. Today, the ideal of self-governance by the members has practically been totally lost. To make this possible, EGBC adopted the notion that Council is wiser than the membership at large, that only Council cares to protect the public, and that any policy requests by members can only be self-serving.

My dream is restoring true self-governance by shedding the above absurd arrogant notion, and by having Councils which truly represent the members, who recognize that the power is vested in the membership and that Council’s actions are only legitimate when they reflect the wishes of the members.

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