Letter to Residents
Dear Residents of Ward 9:
Recently, a report was brought to Executive Committee to consider a future sponsorship and advertising program. During debate, an amendment was brought forward with poor outcomes and an unintentional negative tone towards the many residents, workers, businesses, families, friends and supporters of the oil and gas sector. I did not bring this to be discussed nor did I want it to. I believe, this had no place in our debate and I am sincerely sorry and regretful for this embarrassment, as well as any anxiety this issue has caused. I accept responsibility and have learned a valuable lesson. I will do my best to ensure this type of situation does not reoccur.
To the many households I represent whose livelihoods are made directly from the oil, gas, and energy industry - thank you for enabling our exceptional quality of life, in addition to providing our necessities. My initial support of the motion was not intended to be disrespectful, nor did I ever intend to pass policy with this view. Your efforts are vital to the success of our community and I intend to only cooperate in preserving the opportunities it has provided our city. This motion and the words behind it were very powerful and not in a positive way. As someone who makes a living so directly tied to this sector, I absolutely recognize the benefit it extends our community as well as my own family. I acknowledge that fossil fuels will continue to have a role in our future, even as we look to adapt and investigate alternative fuel options in the years and decades ahead. But that’s not today. Oil and gas are necessary commodities to my livelihood and life, and I am grateful, not embarrassed of that.
As your councillor, it’s my responsibility to support our oil and gas sector and acknowledge the importance of this industry.
I apologize for the lack of clarity in the position I took in the Executive Committee meeting. In a meeting that had no authority passing policy, I used my vote as a tool to further discussion, nothing more. I assumed, wrongly, that my personal credentials and background would never allow anyone to mistake me for an anti-oil activist type of man. I genuinely believed the vote was passing with or without my approval. I voted yes to show cooperation with the intent of collaboration to change the negative outcome phrased in an unfinished policy, in a meeting. There are many rules applied in meetings, and I allowed my worry of the process for overturning a motion when making it to a council meeting guide my vote. To put fears to rest, there will be no issue or obstacle in correcting this mistake.
In hindsight, I should have referred it back to Administration to process outcomes or tabled the motion to allow more time. This would have been a better action than allowing the vote to go through and solely relying on collaboration for the change. Particularly as a second term councillor I should have been smarter and well-versed in these uses of these tools. I take responsibility for my errors leading to the creation of this incident.
Thank you to the many who reached out asking to clarify the situation and my views. The questions, opportunity to clarify the intent of my actions, and support means so much. I appreciate the understanding and compassion you have shown at a difficult time - taking me both at my word and expressing belief in my integrity. To say I was humbled would not even begin to describe what’s been experienced.
Councillor, Ward 9