Embroiled B.C. mayor seeks court order to overturn censure, sanctions

A B.C. mayor who was censured earlier this year has taken legal action to eliminate sanctions imposed on him.

In March, Ron Paull of Quesnel became embroiled in controversy when the local First Nation alleged his wife was circulating a controversial book about residential schools.

Following the public letter from the Lhtako Dene First Nation, city council members asked Paull during a council session if he agreed with what his wife was doing.

Click to play video: 'Council slams B.C. mayor’s wife for distributing controversial book on residential schools'

Council slams B.C. mayor’s wife for distributing controversial book on residential schools

The mayor said he disagreed with what his wife was doing, but did not criticize her.

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Not long after that meeting, council members voted in April to sanction and censure Paull, saying his actions jeopardized the city’s relationships with Indigenous communities.

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It was also claimed that Paull tried distributing the book at an earlier regional district meeting — which he flatly denied, though the petition says he showed the book to two regional district directors.

“I don’t know how we’re going to repair it, but this, hopefully, tonight, is the start of that … how we look internationally, how we can repair our relations with Indigenous people,” said councillor Scott Elliot.

Paull had his travel and lobbying budgets removed and was also booted off organizations that require council approval, including the regional district. A ‘sincere’ apology was also required.

Click to play video: 'Quesnel city council votes to censure mayor Ron Paull over controversial book'

Quesnel city council votes to censure mayor Ron Paull over controversial book

But earlier this week, a petition was filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver, asking a judge to overturn the censure.

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The 23-page court document says the sanctions, issued on April 30, are unreasonable.

“Council ambushed (Paull) at the April 2 council meeting,” reads part of the petition.

“Council orchestrated a public hearing into allegations about him and his wife surrounding the book without notice to (Paull). This then led to council passing Resolution 24-10-110 (a report for potential censure), which was not on the agenda for that meeting. This is a breach of the petitioner’s rights.”

The petition listed previous censures in B.C. as prior examples.

It also said, “The allegation, in this case, is that the mayor’s wife, who is not a member of the council, shared the book with someone and that the mayor later showed the book to two regional district directors after a meeting of the Cariboo Regional District.

“This is not a rational or reasonable basis for censuring and sanctioning an elected member of city council having regard for the legal and factual constraints.”

Global News has reached out to the City of Quesnel for comment.

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