North Saanich council, with newcomers Brett Smyth and Joscelyn Barnard, introduced themselves to their community after being elected Oct. 20. (Peninsula News Review file photo)

B.C. councillor quits a month after election, calls for audit of district

Joscelyn Barnard wants a review conducted into North Saanich’s ‘corporate culture and practices’

Just over a month after she was acclaimed, Joscelyn Barnard announced her resignation from the District of North Saanich council on Thursday claiming manipulation, litigation threats and an “unhealthy democracy.”

In an email, Barnard said she had volunteered to take a councillor position – her first term – because of “the lack of any other community members willing to do the job.”

Each of the six councillors in North Saanich were acclaimed in the Oct. 20 election.

READ MORE: Geoff Orr elected mayor of North Saanich

Barnard called on Minister of Municipal Affairs Selina Robinson, North Saanich Mayor Geoff Orr and the B.C. Office of the Ombudsperson to audit what she called “the corporate culture and practices of the District.”

Barnard said she listened to “a common theme of frustration” from people who also expressed a lack of accountability during the election.

“What I found … was a system that can be manipulated to silence persistent councillors and suppress difficult information through the use of in-camera meetings, threats of publicly funded litigation, severance demands, and labour laws,” she wrote.

“This is not a healthy democratic environment for staff, council, or the public and I will not be a part of it.”

She called for changes to the community charter to improve accountability and transparency.

READ MORE: Residents want North Saanich bike lane revamped

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Orr said he would need time to discuss the matter with staff before commenting, having received Barnard’s resignation the same time media did.

“I just want to be mindful of some aspects of this,” said Orr, just a month into his mayoral duties. “This is something I don’t think most mayors have dealt with, so we’re in a unique situation.

He said a specific process has to be followed in this situation, likely referring to the potential for a by-election.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Abbotsford veteran survives cancer scare, celebrates 95th birthday

Second World War veteran Andy Anderson receives socially distanced birthday party after health scare

Bank robber who was on the lam receives three years in jail

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Abbotsford, Sidney and Vancouver

Rivers could rise rapidly as heavy rains hit Lower Mainland

Larger rivers to reach peak levels on Thursday or into Friday, according to high streamflow advisory

Missing Chilliwack man not seen for eight days

Bruce James Madill last known location was on Paula Crescent on Sept. 16

Pandemic derails CP Holiday Train

Canadian Pacific will work to get donations to food banks while also producing an online music concert

Vanderhoof’s Brian Frenkel takes on top job in tough times

We can get through this, new local government leader says

Mounties cleared by watchdog in fatal shooting of man with schizophrenia in Maple Ridge

Kyaw Din was killed by the RCMP during a mental health incident in August 2019

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Local councils important, Horgan says as municipal conference ends

B.C. NDP leader says ‘speed dating’ vital, online or in person

Penticton woman sentenced to one year in prison for manslaughter of teen boyfriend

Kiera Bourque, 24, was sentenced for manslaughter in the 2017 death of Penticton’s Devon Blackmore

Increased border enforcement curbs cross-line parties at Peace Arch State Park

Gatherings between U.S. and Canadian citizens ‘a daily carnival’ – resident

B.C. Green leader says NDP abandoning environmental plan

Horgan’s claim of unstable government false, Furstenau says

Most Read