EDITORIAL: City of Wonder

Questions remain after censure of White Rock Coun. David Chesney and ensuing explanations.

For the second time in less than three weeks, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin read from a prepared statement carefully crafted to silence criticism.

And, for the second time, his explanations raise more questions.

His earlier speech – delivered April 10 – told of a “councillor with a young family (being) harassed over the telephone and threatened unless he changes his vote.”

That the mayor knew – he admitted, when pressed by Peace Arch News – that the threat was the unnamed councillor would be voted out of office, and that the telephone was city-issued, seems disingenuous to not mention.

This week’s speech came after council’s unexplained vote to leave Coun. David Chesney off city committees and the deputy-mayor rotation was made public two weeks ago.

Baldwin announced that the decision was made in-camera one month earlier to censure Chesney for comments published on the councillor’s own website.

“The censure was a result of Coun. Chesney as publisher/editor of the White Rock Sun acting in a manner unbecoming of a city councillor and not in accordance with city policy, respectful workplace policy 405, whereby comments considered to be defamatory were published in the online newspaper. The defamatory nature of the comments were confirmed by legal counsel.”

Because neither Baldwin nor Chesney could reveal what was written, one is left wondering why a potential civil case – which has yet to be seen, if ever, by a judge – is being treated by a public body on the same level normally reserved for issues of criminality.

And one wonders why “censure” – the expression of severe disapproval – includes punitive measures for both Chesney and the public who voted him into office.

Certainly, one wonders why the city’s lawyer would give such clearcut advice, given that defamation is so open to legal interpretation. Typically it’s the court’s role to determine whether the offended party’s reputation is adversely affected in the mind of a right-thinking person.

Turns out, Baldwin acknowledged later – once again, when pressed – that Chesney had not written the comments himself, and that the city’s counsel advised what was written was merely “most likely” defamatory.

Given the limited information made available to the public – in deliberately worded dribs and drabs – one can only hope council members made their decision with the best of intentions, motivated by a desire to better serve their city.

Otherwise, their actions would seem ill-advised.

Just Posted

RCMP shoot dog in South Surrey after it charges officer

Member of the public not seriously injured after dog bite

VIDEO: Surrey soccer team wins national title for teammate Bassi, killed in car crash last spring

‘It meant the world to us to win it for him,’ says team manager/coach

South Surrey mother leads team of women to build homes in El Salvador

Kelley McNamara and her daughter are to help build a dozen homes in three days

Donation allows Peace Arch Hospital to buy new ventilator

TB Vets donate $73,000 to hospital foundation

Paul Bennett honoured at Peace Arch Hospital Foundation awards

Cloverdale man, murdered in June 2018, was one of a number of people to be honoured

B.C.’s rural paramedic program expands, with home support

Advanced care ambulance staff added for six communities

VIDEO: Townhouse fourth Maple Ridge blaze in less than a day

UPDATE: Fire victims have much to be thankful for, despite loss of pets on Thanksgiving Day

BC Ferries sees steady traffic of post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Ferries filling up fast, sailing waits at some terminals

‘Save the kids!’ Dorian survivor tells the harrowing story of his Canadian wife’s death

Family held a funeral and placed Alishia Liolli’s remains in a niche at a cemetery in Windsor, Ont.

Okanagan woman, 91, votes at advance polls despite broken hip, shoulder and wrist

Angela Maynard has voted in almost every election during her lifetime

Heiltsuk Nation open first Big House in 120 years in northern B.C.

Opening means the community now has an appropriate space for spiritual and ceremonial events

Singh says NDP would form coalition with the Liberals to stop Tories

Singh was in a Liberal-held riding Sunday afternoon in Surrey where he was pressed about his post-election intentions

‘My heart goes out to the mother’: B.C. dad reacts to stabbing death of Ontario boy

Carson Crimeni, who was also 14, was bullied relentlessly, his dad says

BC Ferries filling up fast with post-Thanksgiving weekend travellers

Monday anticipated to be busiest day of the weekend

Most Read

l -->