The findings of an investigation into Gian-Carlo Carra will not be referred to the province or the Calgary Police Service after a tie vote on city council.
The motion from Councillors Jennifer Wyness and Sonya Sharp asked for the findings of the investigation to be sent to Municipal Affairs minister Ric McIver and the Calgary Police Service (CPS) for further review.
Wyness told council on Wednesday that the motion was about “trust in governance,” and the investigation’s findings must be referred to a neutral third party.
“The political environment between voters and elected officials is at an all-time low,” Wyness told council.
“How do you get the trust of voters? How do you get people showing up to the polls when we ourselves are giving an out to an elected official for actions that are questionable?”
Earlier this month, Carra was sanctioned by the city’s integrity commissioner after an investigation found he failed to include an Inglewood property on his public disclosure form, which all city councillors are required to do.
The investigation found the Ward 9 councillor had five separate opportunities to update the disclosure form before he did in November.
Ellen-Anne O’Donnell found Carra and his wife made a $300,000 down payment on the home back in 2015, but “there was no written agreement or document of any kind” setting out the terms of the transaction.
‘I screwed up’: Gian-Carlo Carra speaks out on integrity commissioner’s investigation
Carra apologized to council and Calgarians on Tuesday, as part of sanctions against him recommended by the integrity commissioner and imposed by council.
Sharp acknowledged Carra’s apology, but noted he is a veteran councillor who has signed the disclosure form many times.
“This was not an oversight,” Sharp said. “People need to have confidence that council is here to represent the citizens, not feather their nests.”
Ward 14 Coun. Peter Demong referred to Carra as a “dumba**” for his failure to disclose the property, a statement he was forced to retract but said he still believes.
However, Demong, among other councillors cautioned what could be seen as superseding the city’s integrity commissioner.
“The integrity commissioner, in this report, did not recommend this be referred to the police,” Demong said. “I do not believe it is my job or the job of this council to suddenly supersede the authority of our integrity commissioner by moving forward with an action that is over and above what is recommended in the report to city council.”
The motion was defeated in a 7-7 tie vote; Mayor Gondek, along with Councillors Demong, Jasmine Mian, Raj Dhaliwal, Kourtney Penner, Richard Pootmans and Courtney Walcott voted against.
“My ultimate decision on this rested with the work of the integrity commissioner and the fact that we have put that kind of position in place to oversee our code of conduct,” Gondek said. “I had confidence that the due diligence had been done.”
Gondek said Wyness and Sharp still have the opportunity to bring the findings of the investigation forward to police and province as independent citizens.
Mian, who represents Ward 3, said her and her residents are frustrated there was so much time spent on “the poor behaviour of government officials as opposed to the real work of what we need to do for this city.”
“The people who are most concerned there is something criminal here, which is Coun. Wyness and Coun. Sharp, absolutely they can pick up the phone,” Mian said. “The fact this happened here three weeks later is just theatrics.”
Following the meeting, Wyness called the decision a “missed opportunity for leadership.”
Carra was not present at the debate on Wednesday morning.
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