The controversy which has been plaguing Kitimat Council for the last several meetings, Mayor Monaghan’s appearance in Enbridge promotional material, reared up again on July 5th. Councillor Randy Halyk brought it up in new business under the topic of the Gateway Alliance Website.
“There is a photo of you Mayor on there,” said Halyk distributing copies to Council. “It shows the Mayor again, on an Enbridge Site speaking to it and I’m saying again, I was not here when the last motion was made and I believe it was negated and I was under the impression that the mayor had to get direction from Council on this. I would ask that the Mayor ask to have her picture removed.”
Mayor Joanne Monaghan said this was not up to her but administration and they would be the ones to do this.
“This is interesting,” added Monaghan. “I said exactly there basically what we passed at the meeting. Just I think the jobs would be great for this area however I will not take any stance unless I see the environmental review and that’s exactly what I said here and that’s exactly what we passed at the meeting, you were not here but that is what passed.”
Halyk said he was concerned because the Mayor had asked George Cuff to speak to Council about the roll of Mayor. He said Cuff had recently done a report for Lillooet on how the Mayor and Council should work together. He said the site is an advertisement for Enbridge and the Mayor should be approaching Council first.
Monaghan then pulled out an article from the Vancouver Sun, $4-billion pipeline to land in Kitimat, written by Scott Simpson at the time when Enbridge first came to the Sacred Circle. She read: “’Certainly this is great news for Kitimat, and Terrace, and the region,’ said Kitimat Mayor Richard Wozney, who was in Terrace for the announcement. ‘We welcome this industrial investment. I think it will be a great addition to our community and to our private port operation in Kitimat. This will add to our reputation as being somewhat of an energy hub and a petrochemical centre. We hope they will get through all of their regulatory approvals, start construction in 2008 and be in operation in 2010.’”
“Now, we were not asked as a Council if he could say that or not,” said Monaghan.
She then read another article where Wozney had spoken positively about the project. She stated he had also been in a video. “It’s kind of interesting that one Mayor has the opportunity to do that while another doesn’t,” said Monaghan.
“I would say that two wrongs don’t make a right,” replied Halyk.
Councillor Richard McLaren who was sitting between the two councillors said this topic has been done to death. Gottschling on the other hand commented about Cuff coming to give an interpretation on the role of Mayor.
“I’m sure you have read the district of Lilloeots statement that Mr. Cuff wrote…” began Gottschling.
“I also talked to Mr. Cuff,” interrupted Monaghan.
Gottschling: “Have you read that statement?”
Monaghan: “No I have not.”
“It would be nice would because that paper would tell you exactly what Councillor Halyk has been trying to explain to you. It isn’t what you said so much that was the concern with us. The concern is that Council never had the opportunity to sit down with you and discuss this issue and come up with a unified answer. That’s what the issue was and we have not endorsed the statement that you made but we have endorsed, and if you check the motion, the motion will clearly [state] that we are willing to study all issues and come up with a decision. We haven’t made up our mind at all and we haven’t come to a decision yet it appears that your picture and your statements are actually endorsing the Enbridge project and that’s the issue,” said Gottschling.
He expressed all consultants will tell the Mayor she has to discuss with Council before doing something like this. Monaghan expressed she had spoken to him but she stated once again the statement in the brochure was identical to what Council passed. On that note, she closed the meeting because the topic had been beaten to death.
Gottschling was opposed to Council spending money on Cuff. However, Monaghan said it would not cost much with him on a speaker phone. Councillor Rob Goffinet thanked her for her decision to instruct staff to remove the photo which he saw as being in compliance with the motion.
The related excerpt of the Cuff report to the District of Lillooet can be found below. The full report can be found on the District of Lillooet’s Webpage http://www.lillooetbc.com/Home/Cuff-Report-and-Presentation-Final-
!!“I described to Council my understanding of what the legislation says with respect to the role of the Mayor. I indicated that the Mayor’s role is “one of” and yet distinct from that of the rest of Council. There are certain provisions in legislation which speak only to the Mayor’s role and which place an onus on the Mayor to act in a certain fashion as the head or leader of Council. This requires the Mayor to be cognizant of the Council’s positions on the key issues and to espouse those publicly. It is the “will of Council” that the Mayor is to convey and not his own (unless that has been previously endorsed by resolution of Council),” wrote Cuff.