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

Citing stability, B.C. Premier calls snap election for Oct. 24

John Horgan meets with Lieutenant Governor to request vote

BC Timber Sales’ operations on the North Island and Central Coast to be audited

The Forest Practices Board randomly chose the region to check for compliance to legislation

BC Ferries Sailing Cancellations

Prince Rupert - Haida Gwaii - Northern Adventure

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Vancouver Island sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Oak Bay man was attempting to circumnavigate the world solo

Majority needed to pass COVID-19 budget, B.C. premier says

John Horgan pushes urgent care centres in first campaign stop

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Most Read