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

Just Posted

Strong volleyball culture contributes to Fernie club’s success

Three youth teams make nationals; club to introduce outdoor volleyball this summer

Elk Valley pride groups celebrate milestone

LGBTQ community marks 50 years since decriminalization

GALLERY: First responders in Fernie return baby owl to its nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

VIDEO: Sick eagle released back into wild

Three months after a golden eagle suffering from lead poisoning was found… Continue reading

New program to get Elk Valley youth into workforce

Elk Valley once again facing labour shortage with over 150 job vacancies

VIDEO: Protesters in Penticton gather to rally against sleeping-on-sidewalk bylaw

The proposed bylaw would outlaw sitting or lying on the city’s downtown sidewalks

Sparwood Save-On-Foods partners with Food Share

A Sparwood supermarket is on its way to becoming waste free after… Continue reading

Sparwood coal mine to expand in October

Baldy Ridge Extension to extend life of EVO until 2045, increase the disturbance area by 862ha

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Kootenay man arrested and charged in 2015 murder

Nathaniel Jessup 32 of Creston has been charged with the second-degree murder of Katherine McAdam and offering an indignity to a body.

Most Read