City of Nanaimo won’t pursue legal action against mayor

Mayor Bill McKay suggests apology is in order

The City of Nanaimo will not proceed with a lawsuit against its mayor.

City councillors voted unanimously earlier this month to file a notice of discontinuance related to a notice of claim against Mayor Bill McKay, and will instead convene a censure hearing, according to a city press release.

The notice of claim was about to expire 12 months after its filing, so McKay said the discontinuance is the expected outcome.

“It’s been purely political right from the start and it appears to me, the way this has played out, it’s nothing more than an abuse of the process of the courts,” the mayor said. “If you file an action against somebody, then go through with it.”

The city press release mentions alleged violations by the mayor related to “Community Charter confidentiality provisions, oath of office and provincial privacy laws,” and notes that reasons for the discontinuance are “time constraints and delays in the judicial system as well as the delays to address the issues by the respondent.”

McKay, however, said no action was required of him.

“I was looking forward to the ability to address all of the issues that they’ve brought forward in a court of law, where one would hope it would be fair and not prejudicial,” he said. “Now it appears as though I may have to go back in front of my colleagues that are nothing further [from] unbiased.”

The city press release said the censure hearing will be convened in early 2018. McKay said he doesn’t anticipate attending, instead providing his argument in writing. Censure could mean a few different repercussions such as removal from committees or boards.

McKay said “of course” the notice of claim harmed his reputation and he will confer with a lawyer to determine if he will pursue any legal action in response.

“At this point, one would have hoped that council would have apologized to myself and my family for the anguish and distress they have caused us and would consider a retraction of the statements they made last November and would also consider their duty in the court to ensure that my legal costs have been covered,” McKay said.

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