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Province says: No can do about Coun. Sean Chu

The province can’t do anything with regards to embattled Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu, according to Alberta’s municipal affairs minister.

Alberta Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver issued a statement on a Friday afternoon after receiving a legal opinion from Brownlee LLP on Monday of this week.

The Brownlee LLP note to the Government of Alberta dated Nov. 8, 2021, states that “While the Minister has supervisory jurisdiction over municipalities, the Minister does not [sic] have authority to summarily remove a councillor from office under the legislative scheme currently in force.”

Coun. Chu has been under scrutiny since media stories surfaced regarding his contact with a 16-year-old girl when he was a CPS officer in 1997. Other stories involving a domestic incident in 2008 also came out prior to the Oct. 18 municipal election.

Chu was re-elected by a narrow margin. His primary challenger and second place Ward 4 finisher DJ Kelly said on Thursday that a judicial recount is underway.

Minister McIver said in a prepared release that he wanted to provide the information publicly.

“I have received a response from Brownlee LLP, the external firm selected to review the Municipal Government Act,” Minister McIver said.

“While the Minister of Municipal Affairs has supervisory jurisdiction over municipalities, the minister does not have authority to simply remove a councillor from office under the legislation, particularly for events that took place before a councillor was elected.”

The Brownlee LLP opinion also said that even if a councillor’s conduct does fall within the jurisdiction of the Minister, dismissal should be a last resort.

Coun. Chu participation in council

Coun. Chu was not appointed to any City of Calgary committees during the new council’s organizational meeting.  

He had said that he would continue to serve residents in Ward 4 by participating in committees. Any councillor has the right to participating in standing policy committees (including voting).

According to minutes posted to the City of Calgary website, Chu didn’t participate in the committee meetings held this week.  There was an executive meeting, an infrastructure and planning meeting, a community development meeting and a nominations committee meeting.

Most of the councillors have attended in person at council chambers.