Hardwick urges mayor to apologize for false claims that thwarted Olympics plebiscite
by Carol Volkart
TEAM for a Livable Vancouver mayoral candidate Colleen Hardwick has scored a win over the sitting mayor with a ruling that Kennedy Stewart breached the City’s Code of Conduct by issuing inaccurate tweets about her call for a plebiscite on a possible Olympic bid.
The July 5 ruling by city Integrity Commissioner Lisa Southern recommended that the public record be corrected, and that Council members get further Code-of-Conduct training.
Hardwick said she’s grateful to Southern for helping set the record straight, but she thinks the Mayor owes the people of Vancouver an apology for misleading tweets that coloured the public discussion around the proposed plebiscite so her motion didn’t even get a seconder.
“He was wrong, and the voters of Vancouver lost an opportunity to have their say. I believed then, as I do now, that the people of Vancouver should not be ignored and forced to stand on the sidelines when big issues are being decided about their city.”
The controversy arose after Hardwick put forward a motion that voters be asked in this fall’s civic election whether they support a bid for the 2030 Winter Olympics.
On March 24, Stewart tweeted that the motion “violates the signed agreement” between the governments of Vancouver and Whistler with the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh and Lilwat to explore how an Olympics could become the world’s first reconciliation games.
In a series of tweets on his personal account, the Mayor said the City had approved a formal Memorandum of Understanding to work with the First Nations on the issue, and that Hardwick’s motion essentially tears it up. He said he wouldn’t second it, and any councillors who supported the motion should consider what it “says about their own commitments to reconciliation.”
In her complaint to the commissioner, Hardwick said there was no specific language in the MOU that was violated by her motion, that staff who reviewed it raised no concerns, and that her motion was not anti-reconciliation. Southern’s report noted that during the investigation, Stewart conceded there was nothing in the MOU that was violated by Hardwick’s motion.
Southern found that Hardwick’s motion was not a violation of the MOU, the Mayor’s tweets “were not accurate,” and that he had breached Code of Conduct requirements that Council members ensure all communications relating to Council business are accurate.