Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart resigns from Calgary Police Commission

Diane Colley-Urquhart addressed controversy within the Calgary Police Service on Nov. 2, 2016. Tracy Nagai / Global News

City Councillor Diane Colley-Urquhart has resigned from the Calgary Police Commission, one day after board chair Brian Thiessen said she may have violated the commission’s code of conduct by speaking on behalf of the commission without authority.

“Today we received a letter from Coun. Colley-Urquhart announcing her resignation from the Calgary Police Commission,” Thiessen said Tuesday in an emailed statement. “Though this resignation comes as a surprise, we would like to thank Coun. Colley-Urquhart for 10 years of service to the commission.

“Coun. Colley-Urquhart brought significant expertise and a passion for public safety.”

READ MORE: Diane Colley-Urquhart reprimanded for speaking out on accusations of harassment within Calgary police force

On Monday, the police commission released a letter stating that in October and November of 2016 it received “a number of letters, emails, and phone calls from individuals raising concerns about the conduct of Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart.”

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The letter said that Colley-Urquhart may have violated four provisions:

  1. Speaking on behalf of the commission without express authority or delegation;
  2. Using one’s position as a commissioner to advance personal interests;
  3. Executing duties loyally, faithfully and impartially, and;
  4. Executing duties in accordance with applicable legislation.

Thiessen said he addressed the allegations with Colley-Urquhart but she maintained a breach did not occur.

“The commission acknowledges the inherent difficulty a commissioner who sits on city council will face in balancing their obligations to both entities,” Thiessen said.

READ MORE: Diane Colley-Urquhart pledges to support police chief after allegations of discrimination within the CPS

“Members of council always have to be super careful about balancing a number of different roles. We are representatives of the public and it’s our job to speak out on important issues when we see them. We also have different fiduciary obligations,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said on Monday.

“It’s something almost every member of council has to balance on almost every issue, every day.”

The councillor came under fire late last year for speaking publicly about having met with female police officers who had serious concerns with the workplace environment at the CPS, suggesting problems were not isolated to just a few.

She said she first met with two or three women at her home in February, with meetings growing to as many as 18 people with complaints. The councillor shared some of the emails she’s received, detailing examples of discrimination and harassment.

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READ MORE: Ward Sutherland ‘disappointed’ with Diane Colley-Urquhart’s lack of consultation on Calgary police workplace issues

With files from Global’s 

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