Monday’s District of Kitimat Council meeting suffered a serious setback with a marked deterioration in their relationship with the Village of Kitamaat. After the meeting concluded the District was left to contend with making an apology for not making an apology. It was a very difficult time and you could almost smell the bridges burning.
An indication of this event was found with one of the more cryptic items listed on the agenda. This was a request for a public apology with no explanation other than: “Kitamaat Village Council – Request for Apology (Verbal – Mayor Monaghan).” This item was accompanied by two letters from Councillor Randy Halyk; one to Premier Gordon Campbell and one to Kitamaat Village Chief Councillor Deloris Pollard. Attached Below
“I’m just questioning why it’s on our regular agenda. No one spoke to it,” stated Feldhoff as the item came up for discussion.
“Sorry, I’m sorry, I can’t hear you, there’s talking going on back here,” interrupted Pollard, who, while seated in the gallery, now moved to the podium area to better hear what was about to take place. Councillor Mario Feldhoff had made a motion to move this discussion to ‘In Camera’, meaning behind closed doors.
Council has previously discussed how personal attacks on Councillors should not be part of the pubic meetings. The BC Community Charter states these issues and employee relations are supposed to be held ‘In Camera’. One of the other things is the discussion as to why an item should be ‘In Camera’.
The motion was not seconded so Councillor Gerd Gottschling proposed a tabling motion, which was supported by Councillor Bob Corless. Feldhoff interrupted this discussion, out of protocol, by asking Pollard if she had intended to speak at the meeting,
“No, if I was meant to speak, my name would be in the agenda,” said Pollard.
The tabling motion was called and carried but once the motion had gone ahead, Pollard interrupted again, breaking more normal protocol clarifying: “I was here prepared to speak. There was e-mails going back and forth between the Mayor and our Elected Council and we were asked to show up at tonight’s meeting. So for me to come and speak that was my intention to come and speak but I see my name is not on the agenda so now you’re asking to move in camera?”
Monaghan explained she had asked Pollard to present at the end of the presentations but she had not seen her in the audience. Pollard expressed she had arrived just as the meeting was beginning. Monaghan challenged her saying she wasn’t. A very difficult exchange took place where it was finally determined that at the point when Pollard could have spoken, the allotted time frame in the agenda for late additions, Pollard had stepped out of the room to use her cell phone.
Monaghan offered to let her speak but during the clarification from her administration that this would require a unanimous vote from Council and Gottschling’s explanation for his tabling motion, the Mayor neglected to ask her Council for a unanimous vote to permit the Chief Councillor of the Village of Kitamaat to address the District of Kitimat. The exchange was confusing as Councillor Feldoff asked a second time to allow Pollard to speak and she once again declined seemingly confused by the process of the District of Kitimat’s Council meeting.
Gottschling expressed he had made the tabling motion so the District of Kitimat and Kitamaat Village Council could get together at a later date and discuss items of mutual interest.
Pollard asked why she was not on the presentation list and Monaghan explained the Council Protocol is to have everything for the agenda by Thursday and the two groups were still communicating from August 7th until the morning of the Council Meeting on August 16th. She also stated she wished to respond to the emails sent back and forth after she heard what the Council had to say on the subject of the public apology. This exchange seemed to indicate Pollard was expecting to hear an apology first and would then speak, which might explain why she declined the repeated opportunities to speak first.
Monaghan explained the motion was now tabled until both Council’s could meet. Pollard and Monaghan both expressed they were not familiar with the other Council’s customs meaning this whole faux pas was a communications error.
“I would accept that motion but in the future, we have agendas that we have to attend to as well and I have attended your meetings in the past and was still not aware that if you have a presentation, you have to set it up very specific that in your emails back and forth with our Councillor it should have to be very specific but we were told show up at 7:30. We were not told that we were a part of the presentations and that we had to make a presentation to ask for an apology. That was never ever said and so would have saved us a lot of grief and you a lot of grief and the public would have full wind of what the apology entailed. When you’re ready to entertain us, we’ll see if we’re available then,” said Pollard.
Monaghan apologized for this miscommunication.
“It’s a waste of our time which I’m really not happy with and it’s a waste of our Council’s time,” said Pollard.
Monaghan apologized one more time as Pollard left the meeting, the media in hot pursuit. Monaghan also left the meeting for a few minutes before returning.
Under new business, Councillor Rob Goffinet made a motion. “That the Mayor and Council invite the leadership of the Haisla Nation to meet in order to advance our relationship and to discuss matters of mutual concern between our two communities,” said Goffinet. This motion was called and carried.
After the meeting, Monaghan stated she was upset by what had transpired. She had tried to explain through her emails how speaking at the meeting would work. “I would have liked to have asked her to speak at that point in time but she didn’t want to, she said ‘no, I’m not here to speak,’ and that was unfortunate because I would have liked to have heard what she had to say,” said Monaghan.
Monaghan spoke highly of the motion made by Goffinet to meet with the Haisla and she would write Pollard on Tuesday to apologize. Monaghan also explained the Haisla were not asking for an apology from the District of Kitimat, they were asking for an apology from Councillor Randy Halyk for his letter to the Premier.
Watch a video compilation from this Council meeting exchange beginning with the missed opportunity by Pollard to speak HERE
Chief Councillor Pollard attempts to express herself and discover when she would hear an apology
Kitamaat Village Chief Councillor Pollard abruptly leaves the District of Kitimat Chambers meeting room.
Mayor Monaghan follows the media who is following Chief Councillor Pollard as she exits the District of Kitimat Council Chambers