Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu was removed from serving as deputy mayor for a third time, after a vote by his Calgary city council colleagues on Tuesday.
The move came during council’s annual organizational meeting, in which matters like meeting schedules, positions on various boards and committees, and the deputy mayor roster are decided.
Chu was set to serve as deputy mayor in January 2024 as he didn’t serve in the role in 2023; the rest of council was drawn randomly to serve in the role for the remainder of 2024.
Ward 10 Coun. Andre Chabot also didn’t serve as deputy mayor this year, and was automatically slated to serve in the role in February 2024.
However, Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra brought forward an amendment to the deputy mayor roster to remove Chu and replace his post with Ward 7 Coun. Terry Wong.
“I will not get into the history that we’ve all experienced on this council as to why I might want to make that change for other reasons, but we’ve all experienced it,” Carra told council. “I think it’s a prudent thing to do when representing council in community.”
Councillor Sean Chu will not serve on any Calgary committees
In response to Carra’s amendment, Chu said he felt the move was a personal attack and asked for the city solicitor to provide a legal opinion on the situation.
“I thought we were supposed to be working all together as a whole and I don’t understand it,” Chu said in the meeting. “Why is this, again, a personal attack on me without reason?… To me, and to many in the public’s eye, this would be an unnecessary attack on a colleague.”
The city solicitor said she didn’t hear an attack, but rather an amendment to the deputy mayor schedule.
Wong said the move was a surprise to him, while Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner told council she supports Chu’s removal given Wong’s record so far as a city councillor.
“Coun. Wong has shown up pretty much every day in-person to council, he has shown up at community events, he has hosted community events for council, and I think he has really demonstrated that he is willing to go above and beyond as a councillor and fulfil his duties,” she said. “That is not something, unfortunately, I have seen from you, Coun. Chu.”
It marks the third time Chu has been removed from deputy mayor duties during this council’s term.
Chu was banned from deputy mayor duties and from sitting on boards, commissions or committees during this council’s first organizational meeting in 2021, after reports surfaced that prior to the election, allegations of sexual assault involving a minor were made against him when he was a police officer in 1997.
He was found guilty of discreditable conduct but did not face criminal charges.
Province reviewing findings of Chu’s Calgary Police Commission investigation
Last November, city council held a special meeting to remove Chu from the deputy mayor list, and forwarded a Calgary Police Commission report reviewing Chu’s 1997 misconduct investigation to the province.
It was revealed at that meeting that Chu would’ve had to deliver remarks as chair of a council meeting that coincided with the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women that Mayor Gondek couldn’t attend.
“These are very problematic and awkward things,” Carra told reporters Tuesday. “The deputy mayor role is an important, symbolic role in the City of Calgary, and it’s just not a trauma-informed decision to continue to make the same mistake.”
Chu will serve on the Infrastructure and Planning Committee after Tuesday’s organizational meeting.
“When I take stands on principle, I stick with those stands,” Carra said.
The amended deputy mayor schedule was approved nine votes to six, with councillors Chu, Dan McLean, Jennifer Wyness, Sonya Sharp, Andre Chabot and Peter Demong voting against.
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