Mayor Wayne Baldwin delivers his mayor’s report on May 14. City of White Rock photo

White Rock mayor slams disinvitation ‘conspiracy’

Baldwin denies there was ‘meddling from higher up,’ questions which First Nations to invite to city events

Mayor Wayne Baldwin has fired back at critics of the ‘disinvitation’ of the Semiahmoo First Nation from the inaugural White Rock Buskers Festival – in particular Couns. Helen Fathers and David Chesney.

Both had expressed dismay last week at learning the SFN had been invited to open the festival on May 5, but had been informed two days before that they were no longer invited because it had been decided there would be no formal opening.

Both Fathers and Chesney were quoted in a Peace Arch News article after posting online that they suspected the committee had received a directive to disinvite SFN.

Baldwin denied there was any city directive to exclude SFN and, on Monday, he used his mayor’s report section of the council agenda to launch a counterattack.

“Unfortunately, in the eyes of the Peace Arch News, the event was secondary to the latest conspiracy theory – the ‘great Semiahmoo First Nations invitation retraction conspiracy,’” Baldwin said.

“Even more regrettably, two members of council are attempting to use an honest, well-meaning mistake on a volunteer’s part to launch an investigation into what they are calling ‘meddling from higher up.’

“Ironically, these are the same two councillors who very briefly attended the recognition dinner on March 22 for community policing volunteers and ducked out at the earliest opportunity, before the awards presentation, with their dinners in styrofoam boxes, to attend a non-city event.”

Baldwin went on to say “recent events have shown the necessity of having in place city policies and protocols pertaining to relations with other levels of government, other local governments and First Nations. Accordingly, I will be creating a new committee, the intergovernmental and Indigenous affairs committee.”

Baldwin said he’d asked city staff to prepare terms of reference.

“The committee will also be asked to determine with the assistance and advice of the province, just who our referenced First Nations are,” he said. “White Rock has for years assumed the proximity of Semiahmoo Reserve in Surrey gives us a natural relationship – which it does.”

But Baldwin said that, as a result of the consultation process for the Memorial Park project, “it has come to light that we are subject to claims not only from SFN,” but also from several other First Nations groups, who are consulting on city projects – while noting SFN is also seeking to launch a court challenge to a casino project in Delta.

“This, of course, begs the question: who do you invite to city events without disrespecting the culture and heritage of the others?” he said.

Baldwin criticized Chesney and Fathers for electioneering, noting he’d asked staff to “provide clarifying language on the permissible content of mayors’ and councillors’ reports at council meetings.”

In his councillor’s report, Chesney responded that his statements were not intended to be political.

“I think when all the facts and figures are known over the coming weeks, I think the community will see that it was far from a political statement and will shake their heads in disgust at what transpired behind the scenes.”

“You are so wrong,” countered Baldwin.

At the end of the evening, Fathers submitted a notice of motion – to be considered at the May 28 meeting – to create policy that would invite Semiahmoo First Nation to all “opening ceremonies… that all levels of government would usually be part of.”

In particular, Fathers’ notice of motion referenced the Concerts at the Pier series co-sponsored by the BIA and TD Bank, Canada Day, Sea Festival and the Tour de White Rock.

Just Posted

New detox centre opens in South Surrey

WhiteRock EHN opened in response to opioid crisis

VIDEO: Surrey hair salon joins sustainability initiative

Hair can be used to create boom to clean up oil spills: Green Circle Salons

Surrey’s Come Share Society collecting clothing for seniors

Coats, socks and sweaters can be dropped off at the Oceana PARC presentation centre

White Rock breaks temperature record

B.C. city was the hottest in all of Canada

After nearly 100 years in the field, Cloverdale farm recognized for agricultural leadership

Surrey Board of Trade awards Heppell’s Potato Corp with leadership award

REPLAY: B.C’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Vancouver Police look for man in connection to ‘sexually motivated’ assault

Woman says man followed her into an apartment building

NEB approves operating pressure increase to repaired Enbridge pipeline

The pipeline burst outside of Prince George on Oct. 9, now operating at 85 per cent

B.C. VIEWS: Setting speed limits in a post-fact environment

Media prefer ‘speed kills’ narrative, even when it fails to appear

Controversy erupts over Japanese flag in B.C. classroom

Online petition demanding removal has collected more than 5,700 signatures

Death toll rises to 76 in California fire with winds ahead

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began

Trump says report on Khashoggi death expected in a few days

Jamal Khashoggi was a columnist for The Washington Post who was slain Oct. 2 inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul

CUPW requests mediator as deadline for Canada Post offer expires without deal

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau weighed in Saturday night with a last-minute plea to the two sides

Most Read