10 signatures reached
To: The Government of Manitoba, The Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench
Democracy Is At Stake In Canada
We demand that the vote made by St Andrews Municipal Council at a "Special Meeting of Council" on December 16th 2019 to remove the Mayor's powers as Chair of Council and as Spokesperson for the RM be overturned and that Mayor Joy Sul be rightfully returned to her duly elected positions of Council Chair and RM Spokesperson. We also demand that Councillor Matthew Prychun, Councillor Darryl Pohl, Councillor Russ Garvie, Councillor John Preun, and Councillor Laurie Hunt be made to repay all of Mayor Joy Sul's legal expenses incurred from her legal challenge to their undemocratic posturing. We also demand a written and public apology from the previously mentioned five councillors (Wards 1, 3, 4, 5, 6) to the residents of St Andrews for actively attempting to weaken our democracy and for knowingly going against our wishes by removing the duly elected mayor from her rightful positions entrusted to her by the voters of St Andrews.
Why is this important?
The Rural Municipality of St. Andrews Manitoba is just north of Winnipeg and in the municipal election held October of 2018 Joy Sul was elected the new Mayor of the RM with 61.82% of the vote. A clear majority of voters chose her to lead our community.
On December 16th of 2019 five members of council (that have now become known in the community as “The Group of Five”) after months of strategically changing municipal by-laws held an emergency council meeting where they voted to remove the Mayor's powers as Chair of council and as Spokesperson for the RM.
What these five councillors did is undemocratic and frankly inappropriate and embarrassing.
The Mayor has since taken legal action against the RM and the councillors in question to have the vote overturned and restore democracy to our community. With COVID-19 throwing the world into chaos of course, the court date has been pushed back and the issue has still not been resolved.
St. Andrews is a small community and I fear because it is so small that not many people are even aware that this affront to democracy in Canada has taken place. If the court were to find in favour with the five councillors that voted to remove the mayors powers it would set a dangerous precedent for every single municipality across Canada.
Below are a few news articles with the most recent public information about the situation.
There has also been a GoFundMe fundraiser started up by a concerned member of the community to help the Mayor pay her legal fees. As she was the one to initiate legal action against the RM and the councillors she is responsible for paying all of her legal fees while the councillors will have their legal costs paid for by the RM. Any surplus funds (or all funds in the event that the five councillors are forced to pay the mayor's legal fees) will remain in St. Andrews and be donated to help save Captain Kennedy House, a St Andrews historic landmark.