Kelowna mayor Colin Basran says he’s standing up to what he called online bullying.
Basran, who made a statement to the media on Wednesday afternoon and didn’t take questions, said “as you may know, the RCMP are investigating allegations of online threats directed at myself.
“Police have identified and arrested a suspect and it is now before the courts. The actions of the RCMP clearly illustrate the seriousness of this issue.”
Basran continued to say “as elected officials, it truly is an honour to lead our community. We are tasked with making numerous decisions, both large and small, that we hope will positively benefit our community, not only now, but for years to come.
“But we as elected representatives know that decisions we make face public scrutiny, and, regardless of the outcome, not everyone will be satisfied.”
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Basran said “online comments made by one of our residents yesterday, encouraging violence, is where we draw the line. By ignoring the comment and not saying anything, to me, would just be condoning this type of behavior.
“I have to stand up for my council colleagues, and the elected representatives at all levels, that this incident is not acceptable under any circumstance.”
The mayor also said “more than ever, it’s vital to challenge those who use personal attacks, online bullying or vulgar language to stifle opposing points of view.”
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The threat, which suggested harm to Basran, was made in connection with a development proposal on Groves Avenue.
A house is designated to be torn down, along with the two beside it, and replaced with a six-storey building, even though the official community plan calls for a maximum of four storeys.
When the proposal was brought before council last month, it was defeated. However, Basran used his executive power as mayor and brought the proposal back to council and it passed, which upset some people.
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Michael Le-Feuvre lives across the street from the proposal. He’s against it, but says resorting to threats is over the top and didn’t come from his neighbourhood.
“I’m absolutely convinced it did not come from South Pandosy or from anyone who has been associated this development,” said Le-Feuvre.
“The community and the people who we’ve talked to and met with, no one has ever expressed any kind of threats or hateful language.”
A Kelowna man was arrested and could be facing charges after allegedly making online threats towards a city official, according to police.
Kelowna RCMP said they were alerted to the alleged threats on Tuesday at approximately 6 p.m., and that a suspect was later identified and arrested.
There was no word from police as to what city official was allegedly threatened, though it’s believed the threats were aimed at Kelowna mayor Colin Basran.
On a social media post, Basran said “When you put your name forward and are selected to serve the people of your community, you expect some criticism. But the post above goes beyond anything I would have ever expected.
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“This may not be a big deal to some, but this is incredibly hurtful to my family and I. So much so, I’ll admit it brought me to tears. I’m scared, angry, sad and everything in between.
“I put up with a lot of criticism at times, but threatening my safety is completely unacceptable. If this is the new norm for elected officials, I want no part of it.”
Police said the suspect, a 52-year-old Kelowna man, faces potential criminal charges. He was reportedly released on strict conditions and is expected to appear in court on June 24.
Basran will be making a statement regarding the alleged threats on Wednesday afternoon.