Ward 13 Councillor Dan McLean and Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra were sanctioned on Tuesday following an investigation by the city’s integrity commissioner.
According to the integrity commissioner’s report, a complainant alleged McLean broke COVID-19 public health restrictions at a Christmas event in a Calgary restaurant last December. The commissioner said McLean was not wearing a mask at the indoor gathering even though he was required to do so according to the city’s bylaws and provincial health orders.
McLean said the sanctions set a dangerous precedent because anybody can take a photo out of context. He maintains he did not break COVID-19 public health restrictions and the photo was taken by someone who “repeatedly attacked” him on Twitter and Facebook.
“I was at a table with food and beverage in front of me but you can take a photo of someone without food and drink in front of them,” McLean told reporters at a scrum on Tuesday afternoon.
“Anybody can come after you with a photo and there can be sanctions against you… That’s a dangerous precedent.”
Meanwhile, Carra failed to disclose his financial interest in an Inglewood property before the 2021 municipal election. Carra made a down payment towards the property in June 2015 through a management company, which continued to hold title to the property.
The integrity commissioner said Carra had multiple opportunities to add the property to his council member disclosure statement in June 2016, before the election in 2017 and before the election in 2021. Disclosure of financial interests is required by the Municipal Government Act.
Carra also accused someone of being a child molester on Twitter in February.
He did not respond to reporter’s questions on Tuesday.
McLean and Carra will be required to attend ethics training with the ethics advisor within 30 days. Carra is also required to attend records management, ethics and social media training with the ethics advisor.
Carra has been removed from any chair position on all boards, committees and commissions he is a part of. However, he is still able to actively participate in them.
Bulletins proposed to clarify conduct regarding social media use
On Tuesday evening, Carra asked the integrity commissioner and ethics advisor if bulletins can be created to clarify the code of conduct regarding social media use.
The proposal elicited various reactions and responses from councillors. McLean disagreed with the idea, saying he doesn’t want the municipal government to be able to dictate social media use.
“The ethics advisor and integrity commissioner are good people, but I don’t think they should be in charge of the social media policy and policing what councillors can do,” McLean said.
“We already have a code of conduct that we have to abide by and this will be another layer of policing and censorship that I would disagree with.”
The ethics advisor said it is common in other municipalities to issue interpretation bulletins to explain how the code of conduct applies to social media. However, bulletins are not binding and will only serve to give council some direction.
“Once the bulletin is published, it cannot be changed, but we can issue further bulletins of what had been done before or if there’s been a change in circumstances,” the ethics advisor said during Tuesday’s meeting.