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‘I did not see this coming’: MRU prof on political ally calling for Chu’s resignation

Calgary political scientist Duane Bratt said he didn’t see it coming, but Craig Chandler’s calls for Sean Chu’s resignation could mean the walls are closing in on the Ward 4 councillor.

Late Thursday morning, Conservative politician and operative Craig Chandler issued a letter to Sean Chu and circulated it to Calgary media via his standing as the CEO of the Progressive Group for Independent Business (PGIB). It called for Chu’s immediate resignation.

(Editor’s note: Chandler’s email was sent to Coun. Sean Chu directly, but included the Ward 3 office, which is Coun. Jasmine Mian. Coun. Chu is Ward 4.)

Chandler acknowledged the recent provincial decision to forward the Calgary Police Commission’s report to the deputy ministers of public safety and justice as a trying time for Chu.

“However, the reason for my email today is because of you taking pictures of the license plate of Mayor Jyoti Gondek,” Chandler wrote.  

“No one in elected office on any side deserves to have their personal safety threatened in any manner.”

Chandler suggested these were the typical tactics of left-leaning politicians, not from Conservatives.

“Whether I like the Mayor or not is irrelevant and this is not a left or right issue. Leaking photos of the Mayor’s license plate is unacceptable in every way and no apology will make up for it,” Chandler wrote.

Chandler also said that Chu’s membership in the PGIB would be terminated immediately.

Close ally of Sean Chu, said Bratt

“I did not see this coming,” said Duane Bratt, professor of political science at Calgary’s Mount Royal University.

“Chandler is a very close ally of Sean Chu. There’s a photo on his Twitter account of him arm-and-arm with Joe Magliocca, Dan McLean and Sean Chu.

“For him to turn on him and call for his resignation… this isn’t someone on the left, this isn’t a critic of Chu, this isn’t the mayor, this isn’t me calling on him to resign, this is a close friend and ally.”

Bratt said yesterday’s announcement by Premier Danielle Smith’s office of the police commission report review was also significant.

He said when the Calgary Police Commission reviewed it, they looked at the process. They didn’t determine if criminal charges could be laid. Bratt said there’s no statute of limitations on some of these allegations. 

Bratt also said the admission of taking the photograph of Mayor Gondek’s licence plate also changes the dynamic of what can be done with Chu. Previously, the legal opinion used by then-Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver was that the 1997 complaint happened prior to Chu serving on council.

“This is different because it’s his behaviour as a councillor against another member of council,” he said.  

“I expect that there will be a request imminently to Minister Schulz to re-investigate that, and the legal advice that McIver got should be a blueprint for what she should be doing.”

Bratt also said Chandler’s letter is a bit of political protection play – it might be wise to disassociate from perceived problems.

“I think when trouble comes, it’s every man for himself,” Bratt said.

Minister Schulz’s office acknowledged that she and Mayor Jyoti Gondek have talked about the Sean Chu situation. They reiterated that the review has been requested and forwarded to the deputy ministers for justice and public safety for further review. No other requests have been made at this time, they said.

LWC has also reached out via text to Coun. Sean Chu for comment, and he hasn’t responded.