Former City fo Calgary Councillor and Current Alberta Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver issued a late afternoon statement on the alegations against current incumbent Ward 4 Calgary City Councillor Sean Chu.
“The allegations against Sean Chu are very serious. Any time an impropriety is alleged against a minor, the situation immediately becomes even more severe.
“Contrary to what some have suggested, the Minister of Municipal Affairs cannot simply arbitrarily ‘fire’ an elected municipal official. But following recent revelations regarding Councillor-elect Chu, I asked non-partisan department officials to review the Municipal Government Act to verify what legal recourse – if any – exists for the Minister of Municipal Affairs.
“The expert advice I have received from officials states that the tools within the Municipal Government Act – both an ‘inspection’ and ‘inquiry’ – are focused on wrongdoing committed by a council or councillor while performing their duties with respect to the operations of a municipality. These elements within the law were not developed to address personal conduct of an elected official dating back many years before that individual entered public office, and it is questionable whether they could be used effectively in the current situation.
“The Municipal Government Act is very clear on the issue of a Criminal Code (Canada) conviction. Councillors convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for five or more years or of an offence under sections 123, 124 or 125 of the Criminal Code (Canada) are disqualified from office and must resign immediately or may be removed by application to the court. However, that criteria does not apply in this matter as no conviction exists.
“That said, I fully recognize the justifiable public interest in this unprecedented situation. Because of the extremely unique circumstances involving Calgary City Council and Councillor-elect Chu, and the lack of clarity for recourse in the Municipal Government Act, I have asked for outside, independent legal counsel to review the legislation and provide expert advice on what action – if any – the Minister of Municipal Affairs may legally take.
“Because of the importance of integrity and transparency, I fully intend to make this expert advice public, and I have asked this review to be completed as expediently as possible. Further details about this process, including the firm selected, will be released in the coming days.”