Calgary city councillors voted to remove Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu from next year’s deputy mayor roster, replacing him with his Ward 7 colleague.
During city council’s organizational meeting Tuesday, councillors voted in favour of amending the deputy mayor roster. This meant the removal of Ward 4’s Sean Chu in January 2024, replacing him with Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong.
Coun. Chu will now not appear on this year’s deputy roster list. Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra is also not on the deputy mayor’s roster. The deputy mayor serves in the mayor’s role when she’s unable to attend either public events or to chair council meetings.
According to an admin report, Couns. Andre Chabot and Chu didn’t serve on the deputy mayor roster in 2023, they were proposed to serve in 2024 in January and February. The rest of council was randomly drawn for their spots in the roster.
Coun. Carra proposed the amendment and alluded to Chu’s past issues in his close.
“I will not get into the history that we’ve all experienced on this council as to why I might want to make that change for other reasons. But we’ve all experienced it,” Carra said.
“I think it’s a prudent thing to do when representing council and community.”
Chu rose in council and objected to the “personal attack” on him with this amendment.
“When someone puts forward any kind of motion or amendment, you’re supposed to have some sort of explanation,” Chu said.
“To me, and to many in the public’s eye, this would be an unnecessary attack on a colleague.”
When Chu asked for the city solicitor’s opinion on it being a personal attack, she said that she didn’t hear any attack from Carra in the motion.
Similar situation in 2021, 2022
In November 2022, Calgary city council held a special meeting to discuss Coun. Sean Chu appearing as the deputy mayor in two months of the year.
Chu had already been banned from the deputy mayor roster and representing the city council on boards, committees and commissions (BCCs) the year prior (2021), but was allowed back to BCCs during last year’s organizational meeting.
The deputy mayor roster from last year was reconsidered at that November special meeting of council. They also reviewed a Calgary Police Commission report from Chu’s 1997 investigation into his dealings with a minor while a member of the Calgary Police Service.
Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner, during the Oct. 24, 2023, organizational meeting, said that Chu’s replacement on the roster – Coun. Terry Wong – has “shown up.”
“(Coun. Terry Wong) has shown up pretty much every day in person to council. He has shown up at community events. He has hosted community events for council,” Penner said.
“I think he has really demonstrated that he’s willing to go above and beyond as a councillor and fulfill his duties and go above more-and, I think that is not something, unfortunately, I’ve seen from you Councillor Chu.”
Afterwards, Coun. Carra said that having Chu represent the city could put them in awkward situations – as they did in the past with the Canadian Navy’s refusal to meet with him, and having him as deputy mayor for during a day of solidarity for victims of sexual abuse.
“The deputy mayor role is an important symbolic role in the City of Calgary and it’s just not a trauma-informed decision to continue to make the same mistake,” he said.
Carra said that while other councillors may have voted against Chu’s removal as a sign of reconciliation, he said he’s chosen to take a stand.
“When I take stands on principle, I stick with those stands,” he said.
The vote passed 9-6, with Couns. Andre Chabot, Dan McLean, Jennifer Wyness, Sonya Sharp, Peter Demong and Sean Chu voting against.