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Langford council waiting for provincial guidance on code of conduct

After another heated exchange, council votes to seek guidance from province before drafting code
Tensions have been mounting between several members of Langford city council at recent meetings. (Bailey Moreton/News Staff)

Langford council will wait for provincial guidance on the creation of a code of conduct for its meetings.

Exactly what that advice might be, and whether it may come before the fall municipal election, remains to be seen.

Developed after tensions arose around the council table at previous meetings, Coun. Lillian Szpak’s motion requesting that city staff begin drafting a code of conduct was defeated in February. A second motion put forward at that meeting by Coun. Roger Wade, calling for council to wait for direction from the province, passed, with only Szpak and Coun. Denise Blackwell opposed.

During discussions – which were again heated – Mayor Stew Young said until the city receives further guidelines, “there’s no point discussing it.”

In defence of her motion, Szpak had argued that a code of conduct “shows that we do want to have respectful discourse and we do want to have parameters around it.”

The province passed the Introduction of Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendment Act in November, which required municipalities to publicly consider drafting a code of conduct. Documents have also been created to help local governments draft their own policies, including a model code of conduct, made in collaboration with the Union of B.C. Municipalities and the Local Government Management Association. The model code is intended to be used as a framework for municipal governments to establish their own code of conduct.

A Ministry of Municipal Affairs spokesperson said the province will continue to work with local governments to help navigate the process.

The City of Langford did not respond to requests for comment about what further guidance the city needed from the province.

READ MORE: ‘We’re not elected to squabble’: Langford councillor to pitch code of conduct


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