Mayor Wayne Baldwin delivers his mayor’s report on May 14. City of White Rock photo

Mayor Wayne Baldwin delivers his mayor’s report on May 14. City of White Rock photo

White Rock mayor slams disinvitation ‘conspiracy’

Baldwin denies there was ‘meddling from higher up,’ questions which First Nations to invite to city events

Mayor Wayne Baldwin has fired back at critics of the ‘disinvitation’ of the Semiahmoo First Nation from the inaugural White Rock Buskers Festival – in particular Couns. Helen Fathers and David Chesney.

Both had expressed dismay last week at learning the SFN had been invited to open the festival on May 5, but had been informed two days before that they were no longer invited because it had been decided there would be no formal opening.

Both Fathers and Chesney were quoted in a Peace Arch News article after posting online that they suspected the committee had received a directive to disinvite SFN.

Baldwin denied there was any city directive to exclude SFN and, on Monday, he used his mayor’s report section of the council agenda to launch a counterattack.

“Unfortunately, in the eyes of the Peace Arch News, the event was secondary to the latest conspiracy theory – the ‘great Semiahmoo First Nations invitation retraction conspiracy,’” Baldwin said.

“Even more regrettably, two members of council are attempting to use an honest, well-meaning mistake on a volunteer’s part to launch an investigation into what they are calling ‘meddling from higher up.’

“Ironically, these are the same two councillors who very briefly attended the recognition dinner on March 22 for community policing volunteers and ducked out at the earliest opportunity, before the awards presentation, with their dinners in styrofoam boxes, to attend a non-city event.”

Baldwin went on to say “recent events have shown the necessity of having in place city policies and protocols pertaining to relations with other levels of government, other local governments and First Nations. Accordingly, I will be creating a new committee, the intergovernmental and Indigenous affairs committee.”

Baldwin said he’d asked city staff to prepare terms of reference.

“The committee will also be asked to determine with the assistance and advice of the province, just who our referenced First Nations are,” he said. “White Rock has for years assumed the proximity of Semiahmoo Reserve in Surrey gives us a natural relationship – which it does.”

But Baldwin said that, as a result of the consultation process for the Memorial Park project, “it has come to light that we are subject to claims not only from SFN,” but also from several other First Nations groups, who are consulting on city projects – while noting SFN is also seeking to launch a court challenge to a casino project in Delta.

“This, of course, begs the question: who do you invite to city events without disrespecting the culture and heritage of the others?” he said.

Baldwin criticized Chesney and Fathers for electioneering, noting he’d asked staff to “provide clarifying language on the permissible content of mayors’ and councillors’ reports at council meetings.”

In his councillor’s report, Chesney responded that his statements were not intended to be political.

“I think when all the facts and figures are known over the coming weeks, I think the community will see that it was far from a political statement and will shake their heads in disgust at what transpired behind the scenes.”

“You are so wrong,” countered Baldwin.

At the end of the evening, Fathers submitted a notice of motion – to be considered at the May 28 meeting – to create policy that would invite Semiahmoo First Nation to all “opening ceremonies… that all levels of government would usually be part of.”

In particular, Fathers’ notice of motion referenced the Concerts at the Pier series co-sponsored by the BIA and TD Bank, Canada Day, Sea Festival and the Tour de White Rock.

Just Posted

William Henry Rawlison was last seen on Sunday, June 20, 2021. (Contributed photo)
Police looking for missing White Rock senior

William Rawlison, last seen on June 20, may be driving to Kamloops

Natalie Brown and Colten Wilke star in the feature film Thunderbird, co-produced by South Surrey-raised Michael Morrison and released this month in Canada, the U.S and the U.K. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey-raised producer helps bring ‘Thunderbird’ to the screen

Michael Morrison guides B.C.-shot thriller with First Nations connection

File photo
Surrey Board of Trade vows ‘a lot of noise’ will be made about tax increases

Huberman calls for comprehensive tax review at all levels of government

2019 Red Serge Gala guests try their luck at roulette. (Simon Lau photo)
High hopes for in-person Red Serge Gala on Semiahmoo Peninsula

28th fundraiser for community safety programs set for Oct. 23 return

TEASER PHOTO ONLY - Hillcrest Drive-In's sign at the end its run in Surrey, in a photo uploaded to cinematreasures.org by hermangotlieb.
SURREY NOW & THEN: The city’s last drive-in, Hillcrest showed movies for 50 years on site turned shopping mall

‘It was a good memory, being the last drive-in in the Lower Mainland, at the time,’ says former operator Jay Daulat

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

Most Read