Nanaimo city council calls on RCMP to investigate mayor

Nanaimo city council has gone public with several allegations of improper behaviour by the city's mayor and has asked the RCMP to investigate one of the allegations.

Move comes after more than a year of conflict at council table in the Vancouver Island community

Nanaimo city council said it has directed staff to take information to the RCMP about an alleged breach of confidential and privileged information by the mayor. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

The city council in Nanaimo, B.C., has gone public with several allegations of improper behaviour by the city's mayor and has asked the RCMP to investigate one of the allegations. 

The move comes after more than a year of tension and conflict around the council table in the Vancouver Island community.

A statement posted on the city's website on Tuesday outlines the grievances over Mayor Bill McKay's business dealings and concerns about an alleged lack of transparency.

City council said it also directed staff to take information to the RCMP about an alleged breach of confidential and privileged information by the mayor.

That information was related to the settlement of a constructive dismissal and human rights complaint against the city and chief administrative officer, and sharing it could be a violation of the Offense Act, the press release said.

"This isn't a witch hunt. This is information that we have in our possession that we are duty bound to report out on," said Councillor Bill Bestwick.

Nanaimo city council also alleged in the statement that McKay was involved in improper business dealings related to potential foot passenger ferry service coming to Nanaimo and that he failed to disclose gifts he received during an official trip to China.

City council said it has directed staff to take steps to start litigation related to those allegations under the Community Charter.

Mayor denies allegations

In a statement on Wednesday, Mayor Bill McKay dismissed the allegations and said they are aimed at creating public embarrassment.

Mayor Bill McKay says the allegations by Nanaimo city council are false. (City of Nanaimo)

"I wish to make my position clear that the allegations of wrongdoing are false. Council's actions and statement are based on speculation, innuendo, misstatements of fact and a misreading of the law," he said in the statement.

"In my view, the release of council's press release is completely and wholly an effort to discredit, humiliate and embarrass me publicly. I contend that it is nothing more than petty politics and does not serve our community in any positive way."

The RCMP said information has been received from the City of Nanaimo, but the force has not yet said whether an investigation will be launched.

Previous discord 

The allegations against the mayor come after months of tension and conflict at Nanaimo city hall. Last month, Councillor Gord Fuller told the mayor to "bite me" during a heated exchange at a meeting.

Last year, seven city councillors signed a letter asking McKay to resign over allegations of bullying behaviour. The mayor refused to step down. 

"To say that the political environment in Nanaimo is tumultuous is most certainly an understatement," McKay said in his statement on Wednesday.

Despite the discord in council chambers, Nanaimo city councillors said city business is getting done.

"We are working diligently. We've accomplished as much as any council that I have sat on in the last four terms," said Bestwick. 

About the Author

Megan Thomas

Reporter

Megan Thomas is a reporter for CBC in Victoria, B.C. She covers stories from around Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Follow her on Twitter @meganTcbc.