Letters: Explaining conflict of interest

Sooke councillor explains why she stepped out of council chambers

I just wanted to respond to the editorial in your paper on April 23, 2014 stating that “two councillors excused themselves from the council table because of what they felt would be a conflict of interest.”

I would like to provide clarification as to why I removed myself from the budget discussion and vote. The Court of Appeal of BC delivered a legal opinion on January 11, 2013 in the matter of Schlenker v Torgrimson,  stating “At Bar, the question is whether the respondents took on conflicting responsibilities as local councillors and Society directors such that they could not participate in decisions awarding contracts to the Societies.” 2013 BCCA 9. In a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeal of BC found that in doing so would be a conflict of interest and not only a conflict but also a pecuniary interest under section 101 of the Community Charter. A finding of such would disqualify a Councillor from office.

It does not matter what any individual’s opinion is on the matter, including my own, I am required by this legal decision to remove myself from voting on the District of Sooke’s budget given my role as a director of CREST until such a time that 1) this issue is resolved by the Courts or 2) if I stepped down from the CREST Board, which I might add, I did offer to do.

Given the above, I rightly removed myself from the vote and if anyone has any questions, please feel free to contact me at kreay@sooke.ca

Kerrie Reay

Sooke