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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Proposed White Rock development a ‘nightmare’ for Elm Street neighbours

Density, traffic, loss of views among chief concerns of residents

Story of ‘A Mother’s Journey to Adoption’ told in book by first-time Surrey author

In the 1990s, Raj Arneja and husband Gurpreet adopted two children in India

Heritage rail to remain closed for both July and August

Fraser Valley Heritage Rail Society may open Cloverdale Station in September

Surrey council to consider a $150 FOI fee for attendance requests at city facilities

This is expected to come before council during tonight’s council meeting, on Monday July 13.

White Rock names second deputy fire chief

Ken Molland started with White Rock Fire Rescue in 1992

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

COVID-19 exposure on Vancouver flight

The Air Canada 8421 flight travelled from Kelowna to Vancouver on July 6

Double homicide investigation leads Vancouver police to Chilliwack

A VPD forensics unit was in Chilliwack Saturday collecting evidence connected to East Van murders

VIDEO: Former Abbotsford resident giving away $1,000

Langley native Alex Johnson creates elaborate treasure hunt to give away cash

Tree planters get help with COVID-19 protective measures

Ottawa funds extra transportation, sanitizing for crews

UPDATE: Abbotsford shooting victim was alleged ‘crime boss,’ according to court documents

Jazzy Sran, 43, was believed to have been smuggling cocaine across the border

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Most Read

l -->