Removing Sean Chu from office near impossible: poli-sci professor

Municipal officials and the public may want Ward Four Councillor Sean Chu removed from office, but the process to do so isn’t that easy.

“Generally speaking, the only reason that somebody elected to office can be removed is if they committed an election law violation,” Mount Royal University political scientist Lori Williams said.

We saw something similar during the federal election when allegations of a past sexual assault claim came to light against one of the Liberal Party Candidates in the Toronto area.

The allegations surfaced days before the election and the Liberals’ only course of action was to remove him from the party.

Newly elected Mayor Jyoti Gondek called on the province to use the Municipal Government Act to remove Chu, however, Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver said Thursday it’s outside his powers.

“The Municipal Government Act is very clear on the issue of a Criminal Code (Canada) conviction. Councillors convicted of an offence punishable by imprisonment for five or more years or of an offence under sections 123, 124 or 125 of the Criminal Code (Canada) are disqualified from office and must resign immediately or may be removed by application to the court. However, that criteria does not apply in this matter as no conviction exists,” the minister said in a statement.


Alberta did pass legislation that could be used to remove Chu from office back in June, but the Recall Act hasn’t been made law.

Williams says it’s speculated the UCP government is worried the bill could be used against them.

“Some people are thinking the government doesn’t want to bring Recall legislation into place because it could be used, let’s say, against a very unpopular premier,” she said.

“Some people are saying there is a deliberate delay to avoid it being used against the provincial government currently.”

Even if the bill were to become law, a petition to recall a municipal official can’t be done until 18 months after an election.

Once approved, the applicant is required to collect a certain percentage of eligible voters in the municipality or ward within 60 days.

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