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

First responders continue to rally in support of Kelowna health care workers

Pandosy Street was packed with supporters for the second night in a row

COSAR assists first responders with injured hiker in K.L.O. Creek Park in Kelowna

This is the second incident COSAR has responded to in 24 hours

Vehicle goes up in smoke in Kelowna garage

Fire department on-scene in 200 block of Poplar Point Drive near Knox Mountain

COSAR rescues two lost hikers from Okanagan Mountain Park

Two male hikers were overdue from a hike they left for on the morning of March 28

UPDATE: Coronavirus concerns prompt event cancellations across the Okanagan

This is a running list of events cancelled across the Okanagan

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

Okanagan women spending quarantine making masks

Group at Predator Ridge, and a colleague in Vernon, keeping busy making surgical masks for others

Most Read