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Port Moody councillor accuses mayor of demeaning her, calls for B.C.-wide code of conduct

Last Updated Sep 11, 2020 at 4:17 pm PDT

FILE - Port Moody city hall. (Source: Google Maps)
Summary

A Port Moody city councillor is calling for a province-wide code of conduct for elected officials

Councillor Diana Dilworth has accused the mayor of Port Moody of demeaning her and other women

Dilworth says the issue has been raised by many elected officials, but human resources staff intervene

PORT MOODY (NEWS 1130) – There are calls for a province-wide code of conduct for elected officials after a city councillor in Port Moody accused the mayor of demeaning her and other women.

“I move that the province of British Columbia be asked to develop a code of conduct that is overseen by the province so that all local, elected officials have access to a consistent, formal set of standards, and a process for complaint against other elected officials,” councillor Diana Dilworth said during a council meeting Tuesday.

“He’s referred to my perspective as a laughable concept,” Dilworth said. “I believe his words and actions were meant to demean and humiliate me, and put me in my place,”

Given the dynamics of Port Moody council, Dilworth says she doesn’t believe any complaint brought forward by her would be treated fairly.

She says this issue has been raised by many elected officials in Port Moody and around the province, but human resources staff have no ability to intervene.

“Elected officials are unfortunately not recognized as staff by any city’s policies related to bullying, harassment, or right to a respectful workplace,” Dilworth said.

Dilworth claims she’s even heard from concerned citizens about the way she’s been treated by Mayor Rob Vagramov.

The mayor says in an email that he bought up the bullying issue during his election campaign and has since done his best to treat people with consistent respect and fairness.”

“Since I was first elected six years ago, I have been dealing with, and struggling to brighten, the hostile work environment that became a fixture of Port Moody city council during the last administration,’ Vagramov says.

“Democracy thrives with vigorous back-and-forth at the decision-making table, and democracy erodes if politicians are able to shut down policy debates simply by saying they’re too offended,” he added.

“The public can count on me to continue calling out and criticizing poor public policy — past or present — that makes life worse, entirely regardless of the gender of the politician who happens to propose or support them.”

He says he supports a provincial approach to try and return civility to politics in B.C.

“But I’m surprised that Diana Dilworth has suddenly become interested in this issue, given how I’ve seen her treat those who disagree with her in the past.”