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Nanaimo, B.C. city council asks RCMP to investigate Mayor Bill McKay

Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay.

City of Nanaimo

Nanaimo city council has asked the RCMP to investigate Mayor Bill McKay over allegations that he is "in direct violation of his obligations and duty to the City."

Claims that Mr. McKay has acted improperly are contained in an unusual statement that was released by council members on Tuesday. The allegations are that, among other things, he violated the Community Charter by failing to properly declare gifts he has received in the line of duty and by taking free trips without council approval.

The statement also claims he violated the provincial Offence Act by disclosing confidential and privileged information concerning a constructive dismissal claim. It is that complaint that council wants the RCMP to investigate.

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Mr. McKay defended himself in an interview Wednesday, saying he has done nothing wrong and looks forward to proving that with the help of his lawyer.

"I'm adamant that I have not breached any portion of the Community Charter and that I have not breached any portion of the provincial Offence Act," Mr. McKay said.

He said he expects the RCMP will be contacting him and that he's prepared to respond to all the allegations made against him by council.

"We will be answering that [statement] in the best way we can. We will be expecting all the materials that would be used by decision makers to be turned over to myself and my legal counsel so that we can properly prepare a defence," Mr. McKay said.

He dismissed the allegations as being politically motivated by a council he has been clashing with ever since he was elected Mayor in 2014. In a story last March, The Globe and Mail reported that a long-simmering feud between the Mayor and council had come to a head when seven of eight council members demanded his resignation.

Councillor Jerry Hong said Wednesday the statement released this week is linked to the conflict from last spring.

"This is now the details being released with relation to that [demand for his resignation]," Mr. Hong said.

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He said council had kept its concerns under wraps for several months while it tried to press Mr. McKay to provide details about his trips and other matters. When that failed, he said, they decided to release the statement publicly.

The council statement says more information will be released "once the RCMP reports out." The RCMP could not be reached for immediate comment.

"We have had more than a year of discord due, in part to, the Mayor's inability to be honest with Council about the business of the City and matters important for the community. Council has warned the Mayor several times that his actions were jeopardizing the integrity of Council and placing the City at unnecessary risk for litigation," the council statement says.

Among other things, the statement alleges that, without council approval, Mr. McKay entered into a non-disclosure agreement with Clipper Navigation Inc. to begin discussions about bringing a passenger ferry service to Nanaimo, and that he "accepted a free trip from Clipper" to meet with the company.

David Gudgel, chief operating officer of Clipper, said in an interview Mr. McKay came to their offices in Seattle because company officials had been unable to visit him in Nanaimo.

He said Clipper gave Mr. McKay a ride without charge on the ferry from Victoria to Seattle.

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Mr. Gudgel said Clipper was one of three companies that originally bid to establish a Nanaimo-Vancouver passenger ferry service, but that bid was later withdrawn because "we didn't feel there was a business case."

The statement released by council also accuses Mr. McKay of failing to declare "the gifts and services in kind he received in 2015 while on an official trip to China, as required by law."

Mr. McKay said in a statement that gifts have to be declared only if they are worth more than $250 and he didn't think the hospitality gifts he received in China were worth that much.

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