Councillor conduct code may not make sense, podcasters say

Councillor conduct code may not make sense, podcasters say

· The Pulse

Coun. Sarah Hamilton's decision to attend a UCP fundraiser instead of a city council meeting raises questions about the effectiveness of the councillor code of conduct, said journalist Jeremy Appel on Episode 256 of Speaking Municipally.

"The code of conduct is something that you can point to, and the rules are the rules," Appel, who writes at The Orchard, said. "But the question is — are the rules reasonable?"

Appel and podcast hosts Troy Pavlek and Mack Male compared Hamilton's support for the UCP to Coun. Michael Janz's endorsement of NDP leadership candidate Sarah Hoffman, which Janz first presented from his position as a city councillor, but later adjusted to reflect his background as a school board trustee.

"Two things can be wrong at the same time, and they can be wrong in different ways, and one thing can be more wrong than the other," Appel said about Hamilton and Janz's actions.

The code of conduct does not include language about missing meetings or votes. "Councillors have a right to freely and fully participate in the political process in their personal capacity, including contributing personal money or real property, volunteering, or offering financial support of partisan political activity, provided that, when doing so, they disclose that such participation is not in their capacity as elected officials," reads the code.

Appel pointed to the timing of Hamilton's absence as significant. Hamilton chose to attend the UCP fundraiser on March 13 amid a labour dispute between the city and Civil Services Union 52, as well as news that the province wants municipal councils to affiliate with provincial parties.

Hear about Hamilton, plus the city's successful suit against the Coalition for Justice and Human Rights, shelter funding, and more on the March 22 episode of Taproot's civic affairs podcast.

Photo: A file photo of Coun. Sarah Hamilton in council chambers taken in August 2023. Speaking Municipally guest Jeremy Appel discussed Hamilton's decision to appear at a UCP fundraiser instead of tending to council duties. (Mack Male/Flickr)