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B.C. floats rules to push charged, convicted politicians out of local elected posts

When elected officials are charged with a crime, proposed revisions to the Local Government Act would immediately place them on paid leave until the charges are settled.

In a legislative

Minister of Municipal Affairs Nathan Cullen said it was a matter of helping municipalities “maintain public confidence in instances where an elected official is charged or convicted of a criminal offence.”

The first amendment, according to the ministry, amends current laws to ensure that any elected official who is convicted of an indictable offence is immediately disqualified from holding office.

The second revision orders mandatory paid leave immediately after a politician is charged with a crime.

It has been a few years, since 2018 Union of B.C. Municipalities have been asking for these changes said the group’s president, Laurey-Anne Roodenberg, so “we’re really glad that these changes provide clear direction.”

“While our hope is that mandatory leave and disqualification will not need to be exercised, these amendments will help limit disruption, maintain public confidence and ensure local governments are able to remain focused on serving their communities,” Cullen says in the statement.

“I can’t speak to specifics, but there have been numerous cases over the past couple of years” Municipal councils have been left without instruments to handle situations, according to Roodenberg, who is also a councillor for the City of Quesnel, where elected officials have faced criminal charges.

Currently a high profile case being hear in court is that of City of Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum who is charged with one count of public mischief last December. The charge is related to allegation he made about a opposition citizen’s group in a shopping centre parking lot claiming someone ran over his foot.

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