The sex assault trial of former Pitt Meadows councillor David Murray showed cities have no way to oust convicted politicians.

Convicted councillors should lose positions, says Lower Mainland council

Lobbying to change B.C. Community Charter after David Murray conviction

Pitt Meadows council wants laws changed to allow cities to remove councillors convicted of crimes.

After dealing with the sexual assault conviction of then-councillor David Murray in October of 2017, Pitt Meadows council is lobbying for change.

Mayor John Becker will bring forward a motion at the Lower Mainland Local Government Association conference in Whistler, May 9-11. The motion will encourage the group to lobby the provincial government to make legislative changes to the B.C. Community Charter to give municipalities the power to suspend or remove an elected official convicted of a criminal offence.

“There’s a gap in the legislation that needs to be addressed,” said Becker. “Currently, there is no authority under the B.C. Community Charter to allow a municipality to remove an elected official from office even if convicted of a criminal offense.”

The city’s motion advocates through the LMLGA and, subsequently, the Union of B.C. Municipalities for changes to legislation for local government.

The “Disqualification from Holding Elected Office” motion would require an elected government official be put on paid leave immediately or disqualified from holding office upon conviction of a serious criminal offence or until the expiration of the time to file an appeal or determination of an appeal.

After Murray’s conviction, Becker met with him to discuss the matter, and Murray agreed to resign, several months later to avoid a by-election.

Becker said he was able to “lean on a personal relationship” with Murray in the discussion about the convicted council member leaving his position. Murray had no obligation to then resign.

“He could still be sitting as a member of council, with full rights of participation and pay,” Becker added.

Murray was sentenced to nine months in jail on March 21, but was incarcerated for 16 days before being granted bail as he appeals his conviction and sentencing.

There are limited provisions in the charter that specifically set out where elected officials can be disqualified from office, such as conflict of interest, failing to attend meetings or not taking an oath of office.

But having a criminal record is not one of them.

“The City of Pitt Meadows is committed to leading this change, so that no other council will be faced with this unacceptable situation again,” said Becker.

He has heard from critics who say Murray should have been off council as soon as he was charged, but Becker said the presumption of innocence and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms would complicate that position.

Becker, a lawyer, said he has spoken to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson about the issue, and numerous local government officials, and has heard agreement that the issue needs to be addressed.

“The status quo is unacceptable.”

Just Posted

GW Graham whallops Ballenas Whalers in junior football playoff

Logan Buchwitz scored four touchdowns for the Grizzlies in a one-sided 40-0 win.

GW Graham grad Ethan Mastin wins Atlantic University Sport football title

Mastin helped his St. Francis Xavier X-Men top St. Mary’s U in last weekend’s AUS championship game.

Sardis Falcon Nick Butler named to Nissan Titan All-Canadian Team

The receiver is one of 70 high schoolers who will travel to Edmonton during the CFL’s Grey Cup week.

Country talent Petunia returns to Bozzini’s in Chilliwack Saturday

Petunia, performing Nov. 17, is referred to as ‘The Savior of Country Music’

Superstore steps into vacancy left by Sears to help every family celebrate Christmas this year

Ann Davis Transition Society has paired with the grocery giant to host a Christmas drive on Nov. 17

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Regulatory confusion over ‘toxic’ stink near Abbotsford school

Officials sniffing out which regulators responsible for enforcing compliance at neighbouring property

Most Read