Saanich CAO started the year retweeting former mayor Frank Leonard’s comment that politics are “Trump-like” in Saanich. Screenshot

Trump-like comparison puts Saanich CAO in hotseat

Atwell election prediction draws Trump comparison from former mayor

The combined actions of Saanich’s current city manager and ex-mayor have added fuel to the ongoing controversy around Saanich council and the dangers of social media this week.

On New Year’s Day Frank Leonard retweeted a Saanich News’ story based on Mayor Richard Atwell’s intentions to run in the upcoming 2018 election and his speculation there could be three new members on council.

In his retweet, Leonard added the commentary “Rather Trump-like in Saanich.”

Tweeting stories about local government isn’t new for Leonard, though he rarely adds political comments. What caught the attention of Atwell and others in Saanich was that Saanich CAO Paul Thorkelsson retweeted Leonard’s tweet, comment and all, a few hours later.

And it’s the retweet that has been noticed in the already delicate Saanich political theatre.

UVic political scientist Michael Prince called it unprofessional. One Saanich councillor called it unnecessary, adding Thorkelsson should know better.

“This retweet by the CAO of a tweet by the former mayor which is critical of the present mayor is ill-advised and inappropriate,” said Prince, UVic’s Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy. “It crosses the line between a neutral pubic service and the politics of council.”

Thorkelsson’s response said the retweet was neither an endorsement or support, but rather he thought that the comment was unrelated to the article.

Leonard, who was Saanich’s mayor for 18 years until Atwell defeated him in 2014, is the chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, an appointment he’s held since May of 2015.

When asked, Atwell said the retweet by Thorkelsson didn’t bother him too much, but he was surprised to see it.

“The former mayor tweets like crazy… so I don’t think he’s really left municipal politics, he’s very much engaged in it,” Atwell said. “Is that professional for the chair of the ALC? I certainly wouldn’t expect the former mayor to come up to me and say, ‘I think you’re being Trump-like.’”

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich-based pharmaceutical company stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Transit looking for more feedback on Sooke plan. Again.

Once approved, the plan could take seven years to implement

Technical difficulties delay Victoria’s $500,000 Christmas light village

The Lights of Wonder display was originally set to open on Dec. 13

Canada names 24 athletes to compete for 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup

The event takes place at Langford’s Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa on Feb. 29

Man allegedly behind Greater Victoria restaurant thefts arrested

Jason Perry is expected in court on Dec. 10

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Six B.C. municipalities accepted as interveners in Supreme Court of Canada carbon-pricing case

Victoria, Vancouver, Squamish, Richmond, Nelson and Rossland have intervener status

SOOKE HISTORY: The North Star and Sven Johansson

Elida Peers | Contributed Learning recently of the passing of Sven Johansson,… Continue reading

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Sooke’s EMCS Wolverines drop season opener

Parkland best EMCS squad 81-64

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Economy lost 71,200 jobs in November, unemployment rate climbs to 5.9%

Jobless rate is at its highest since August 2018, when it hit 6%

Most Read