Alberta’s Minister of Municipal Affairs spoke with Mayor Jyoti Gondek about the ongoing problems with Coun. Sean Chu, but that’s as far as things went, a statement from the department said.
Earlier this week, Calgary city council asked the province to investigate a review of Chu’s 1997 police misconduct file.
Chu was accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old woman while working as a police officer, but no charges were laid. A review by the Calgary Police Commission earlier this year found that mistakes were made in the handling of that investigation.
During a Tuesday meeting at which the Ward 4 councilor’s deputy mayor duties were revoked, Gondek also revealed that Chu had taken photos of her vehicle’s license plate while it was parked in a secure parkade, and then that photo with at least one member of the public. She said the councillor’s actions put her safety at risk.
She and other board members have made renewed calls for Chu’s resignation.
“The right person to look into this is the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Rebecca Schultz, who is the only one who has the power to remove him,” Nenshi said during an interview on CBC radio Friday morning.
The former mayor also said the handover of the files to the departments of justice and public safety indicated that the prime minister thought the province could initiate a criminal prosecution.
“They can’t,” said Nenshi. “Politicians are not allowed to say: ‘Go prosecute that person.’ “
There are also questions about why the deputy ministers gave the file.
Melanee Thomas, a political scientist at the University of Calgary, said deputy ministers are top-level civil servants who specialize in the processes of government. She said they are the point of contact between the minister and the civil service side of any given department.
“The deputy justice minister may not be a subject matter expert in justice,” Thomas said. “They may be, but they don’t have to be. They must be an expert on how government works.”
Thomas thought ASIRT, the independent body that investigates police, might be better equipped to review Chu’s police investigation.
ASIRT executive director Mike Ewenson said it would be up to the provincial director of law enforcement to instruct ASIRT to investigate a case, and to determine whether an incident involving a police officer is within ASIRT’s jurisdiction.
“ASIRT has not been contacted in any way regarding the allegations regarding Coun. Chu, and unless we are directed to investigate, we will have no further comment,” Ewenson said.
In an interview with 770 CHQR Friday morning, Gondek revealed more details about the license plate photo, saying it was attached to an email that came to her office with a complaint “about something or other.”
“We noticed that the location of the photo looked like a city facility, and that’s what it was,” she said.
She said the photo of her license plate was taken the same day protests took place outside her home in early January.