Provincial officials have been instructed to look into a Calgary Police Commission review of a 1997 complaint investigation regarding Ward 4 councillor Sean Chu, who was a police officer at the time.
Premier Danielle Smith’s office confirmed Wednesday that she has directed the deputy ministers of justice and public safety to review the findings of the police commission review “to determine whether any further action should be taken in light of the findings outlined in the document.”
“These allegations are serious and we do not take them lightly,” the premier’s office said in a statement to Global News. “Elected representatives at all levels need to conduct themselves in all matters with the highest standards of integrity and ethical behaviour.”
Chu was a member of the Calgary Police Service when allegations of misconduct involving a teenage girl were made in 1997.
He was found guilty of discreditable conduct under the Police Act, but did not face criminal charges.
The review by the city’s police commission found that some policies and processes were not properly followed by the Calgary Police Service when the internal investigation took place in 1997.
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On Tuesday, Calgary city council voted to refer the findings of the Calgary Police Commission review of the complaint to the province for further review.
It’s the second request to the province to review the situation surrounding the Ward 4 city councillor after the revelations first surfaced last year.
In November last year, then-Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver said he didn’t have the authority to remove Chu from his post.
The findings of the Calgary Police Commission’s review of the internal investigation weren’t made public until August, which means McIver didn’t have that information at the time.
“We’ve always been very frustrated by the resistance of the UCP to take real action against this councillor,” Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said Wednesday. “He has engaged in behaviour that is deeply troubling, including the recently revealed behaviour around encouraging harassment of the mayor of Calgary.”
Those recent revelations came from Mayor Jyoti Gondek, who told council on Tuesday that Chu took a photo of her licence plate in a secure parkade at city hall and shared it with the public.
Chu admitted to taking the photo and apologized to the mayor; an apology Gondek said she does not accept.
Council did not include the latest revelations in its request to the provincial government.
“Many in these kinds of circumstances would be on their best behaviour, (but) Sean Chu has chosen to continue to behave in a way that is disrespectful of and jeopardizes women,” said Lori Williams, a political scientist at Mount Royal University.
“I think that is a very serious problem for somebody who’s an elected official, who is supposed to be representing all of his constituents.”
Ward 12 councillor Evan Spencer, who has joined in the calls for Chu to resign, said the situation is eroding public trust in city council.
“Public service is really built on public trust, and certainly that is where some of the best of that work — that collaborative work between governance and citizens in a geographical region — kind of comes together and creates beautiful things,” Spencer told Global News.
“This runs interference. It gums up the process.”