Kenney’s UCP holds key to kick Sean Chu out of office – .

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Kenney’s UCP holds key to kick Sean Chu out of office – .


At this point, it seems if Chu resists, he can just sit there and collect his salary for four years.

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What a mess. Such a lousy start to the life of a new municipal council.

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Almost everyone on the board wants Sean Chu to step down, but he won’t.

He says advisers should come to his office and talk to him, in private, so he can explain why he is suitable for the job.

Premier Jason Kenney urges Chu to step down if the allegations are true, but says there is little the province can do.

Mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek insists she won’t take the oath in Chu next Monday, but she knows someone has to. A mayor or a council cannot annul an election by decree.

Late Thursday, Minister Ric McIver issued an independent review notice of the relevant law to “provide expert advice on what action – if any – the Minister of Municipal Affairs can legally take.”

But he also said a quick internal review provided a quick response – not much.

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At this point, it looks like if Chu resists, he can just sit there and collect his salary for four years.

He was punished, moderately, for touching the leg of a 16-year-old girl in the 1990s. The girl claimed it was worse than that; sexual assault. He says he apologizes “for my family and the woman who has to relive this moment”.

Now the police commission will launch a review of the practices that led Constable Chu to be convicted of a misconduct count, then parked at an office and left with a letter in his file, which expired later.

The standards have changed, obviously and fortunately. Look at this uproar. Anti-Chu protesters will flock to town hall on Sunday.

It just wouldn’t have happened two decades ago.

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But it’s a terrible way to usher in a new board. And that shouldn’t happen. If people had known these details, Sean Chu might never have been a candidate.

One of the smartest things that has been said about all of this comes from Wayne Cao, the former Progressive Conservative politician who served as Deputy Speaker of the Legislature from 2008-2012.

“To avoid a bad post-election situation,” he wrote on Twitter, “we should have an election law requiring every candidate running for public office to declare under oath, publicly disclosing their personal financial and judicial affairs. “

If there had been such a law, Chu would have been forced to reveal not only the situation with the girl, but a domestic argument that led to a police call in 2008, as reported by CBC.

The law could prohibit a person with serious legal and professional problems in their history from appearing. Even if it did not ban candidates (a questionable step in a democracy), voters would at least be aware of the episodes and could vote accordingly.

The other solution is the recall. As Cao notes, “Recall legislation can help, but it costs. “

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We have such a law in Alberta. UCP Bill 52, the Recall Act, passed third and final reading on June 15 and received Royal Assent two days later.

But it has not yet been proclaimed. This means that it is not a law that works. He’s just laying there waiting for the government to wake him up.

This is surprising, one might think, given the enthusiasm of the UCP and the Prime Minister for the recall.

But some are speculating that he is not yet active as Kenney himself could face the first recall campaign.

The longtime Social Credit government of former prime minister William Aberhart passed its own recall law in 1935. It had it repealed two years later when his own constituents in Okotoks-High River organized a campaign for fire him.

Given the bizarre dilemma facing Calgary council, the UCP should proclaim the new law immediately.

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Callback applicants would have 60 days to collect signatures from eligible voters totaling 40 percent of the neighborhood’s total population.

Unfortunately, a petition can only be started 18 months after an election.

With such rules, a recall campaign would need a lot of lasting anger to be successful. But if it did, the councilor would be kicked out at the next council meeting, the petition is approved.

Premier Kenney suggests there is nothing he can do against Chu.

But he can at least proclaim his own law. It’s a beginning.

Don Braid’s column appears regularly in the Herald

Twitter: @DonBraid

Facebook: Don Braid Politics

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