2 Calgary councillors sanctioned for breaching code of conduct

Following investigations by the Calgary's integrity commissioner, city council voted to sanction two councillors on Tuesday for breaching their code of conduct.

City's integrity commissioner examines complaints against council members

Calgary's integrity commissioner found that two complaints against Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra, left, were valid. Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean, right, was found to have violated COVID-19 restrictions. (CBC, Submitted by Fritzology Inc.)

Following investigations by Calgary's integrity commissioner, city council voted to sanction two councillors on Tuesday for breaching their code of conduct.

The integrity commissioner filed three reports and council voted to sanction two councillors: Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra and Ward 13 Coun. Dan McLean.

Carra was involved in two of the reports, one of which involved a failure to disclose his financial interest in a property in Inglewood.

Ellen-Anne O'Donnell, the integrity commissioner, wrote in a report that Carra made a down payment of $300,000 toward the Inglewood property in 2015.

But Carra failed to disclose his interest in the property until 2021, the commissioner wrote, made problematic by the "numerous opportunities" the councillor had to disclose it over the years.

"I could accept the initial failure to disclose the interest in 2015 as a genuine error in judgment, as the Carras made a payment to a limited company that owned the land, and I accept that Councillor Carra believed at the time this did not amount to an interest in real estate," O'Donnell wrote.

"However, I cannot find on a balance of probabilities that the ongoing failure to disclose was trivial or inadvertent after March 7, 2016, as Councillor Carra knew and stated he had a financial interest in the property on that date."

Carra had disclosed at a public meeting on that date that he had an interest in the Inglewood property, the commissioner wrote, when the councillor abstained from voting on a notice of motion related to the lifting of a restriction in the community.

"Subsequently there were multiple events that would have flagged the need for disclosure of Councillor Carras's interest in the Inglewood property in accordance with the disclosure policy and code of conduct," O'Donnell wrote. 

"Although Councillor Carra described the failure to disclose his interest as a 'clerical oversight,' I cannot accept that it was, due to the numerous opportunities he had to disclose it."

Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek says discussions around sanctions are difficult, adding she expects all of the sanctions will be complied with. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The integrity commissioner noted that Carra co-operated fully with the investigation and answered all questions posed, and admitted his failure to comply with the disclosure policy and the code. He also voted along with the rest of council, agreeing to the sanctions against him.

The integrity commissioner filed a second report on Carra that focused on tweets that disparaged his council colleagues for "actively politicking" with Coun. Sean Chu, given news reports around the councillor being disciplined for physical contact with a 16-year-old girl in 1997 while he was a police officer.

Council directed Carra to issue a letter of public apology, to take records management and social media training and that he not be allowed to chair any council committees until this October.

Mask sanction

The report involving McLean was in regard to the councillor organizing an event at a restaurant last December. 

A complaint was filed because he didn't wear a mask, violating provincial and municipal health orders.

Council voted to reprimand him and asked him to attend an ethics course.

"I'll abide by the sanctions. I just find it a little trivial with the other big things we're dealing with in the world to be coming after a city councillor for a photograph without a mask on," McLean said.

Carra wouldn't comment on the two matters pertaining to him, but Mayor Jyoti Gondek acknowledged these were hard discussions for council.

"There were people that were sanctioned for actions that they took and that can be emotional. This council is comprised of human beings, not machines," Gondek said.

Gondek said she expects all of the sanctions will be complied with.

With files from Scott Dippel