Calgary’s mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek said she would refuse to swear in Sean Chu if he appears at Monday’s swearing-in ceremony.
Gondek held her first full media availability since her Oct. 18 and the first questions – most of the questions – were on the controversy surrounding Chu.
Calls for Chu’s resignation have grown stronger in recent days, now with many councillors lining up to back mayor-elect Gondek. Gondek has also been in contact with most of the other councillors on this file, and upcoming business.
“The Sean Chu situation continues to get more disturbing,” said Gondek.
“I have called for him to resign. Most members of the new council have called for him to resign. The premier has called for him to resign, as has Minister McIver. Sean Chu should absolutely resign.”
Gondek said there are measures in the Municipal Government Act that allow for the removal of councillors at the discretion of the province. She also said Bill 52 – recall legislation – could be used if it received royal assent.
“If it is proclaimed they can take action immediately,” Gondek said.
“And we have talked for a long time about council and the provincial government needing to collaborate. This is it. Let’s step up. Let’s get this done together.”
Swearing-in ceremony on Monday
Newly-elected Calgary city councillors will be sworn in Monday in a ceremony at Calgary city hall.
Gondek said that if Sean Chu shows up she won’t swear him in.
“I can tell you this, I will not be participating in having him sworn in to council and then we will see what we have to do following that,” she said. When asked if that meant postponement of the ceremony, Gondek said that wouldn’t happen.
Still, if the final result shows Sean Chu is the victor in Ward 4, he’s eligible for swearing in.
“He can absolutely show up. He won’t be sworn in by me,” Gondek said.
The matter has become an immediate distraction for the incoming council, Gondek said. She also said it’s prolonging the travesty the victim has had to endure.
“This is a travesty for the young woman that was courageous enough to come forward. She needs to put an end to this. She needs to have this taken seriously. And he needs to resign in order for that to happen,” she said.
Discussions with the province; what’s next for council
Gondek was also asked about her conversation with Premier Jason Kenney. During her campaign for Calgary mayor, Gondek often chastised the province for its work on matters like COVID-19.
She said her conversation with Premier Kenney was brief, but optimistic.
“We both agreed that there are many things we need to accomplish together,” she said.
“We are looking forward to being able to connect in person as soon as possible. But it was a very, very optimistic conversation about the things we need to do together.”
The mayor-elect also talked about what’s upcoming for the new council.
They will conduct their organizational meeting where they determine certain duties for councillors, including the committee structure and leadership.
They will also be prepping for November’s budget adjustment period.