Saanich CAO started the year retweeting former mayor Frank Leonard’s comment that politics are “Trump-like” in Saanich. Screenshot

Trump-like comparison puts Saanich CAO in hotseat

Atwell election prediction draws Trump comparison from former mayor

The combined actions of Saanich’s current city manager and ex-mayor have added fuel to the ongoing controversy around Saanich council and the dangers of social media this week.

On New Year’s Day Frank Leonard retweeted a Saanich News’ story based on Mayor Richard Atwell’s intentions to run in the upcoming 2018 election and his speculation there could be three new members on council.

In his retweet, Leonard added the commentary “Rather Trump-like in Saanich.”

Tweeting stories about local government isn’t new for Leonard, though he rarely adds political comments. What caught the attention of Atwell and others in Saanich was that Saanich CAO Paul Thorkelsson retweeted Leonard’s tweet, comment and all, a few hours later.

And it’s the retweet that has been noticed in the already delicate Saanich political theatre.

UVic political scientist Michael Prince called it unprofessional. One Saanich councillor called it unnecessary, adding Thorkelsson should know better.

“This retweet by the CAO of a tweet by the former mayor which is critical of the present mayor is ill-advised and inappropriate,” said Prince, UVic’s Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy. “It crosses the line between a neutral pubic service and the politics of council.”

Thorkelsson’s response said the retweet was neither an endorsement or support, but rather he thought that the comment was unrelated to the article.

Leonard, who was Saanich’s mayor for 18 years until Atwell defeated him in 2014, is the chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, an appointment he’s held since May of 2015.

When asked, Atwell said the retweet by Thorkelsson didn’t bother him too much, but he was surprised to see it.

“The former mayor tweets like crazy… so I don’t think he’s really left municipal politics, he’s very much engaged in it,” Atwell said. “Is that professional for the chair of the ALC? I certainly wouldn’t expect the former mayor to come up to me and say, ‘I think you’re being Trump-like.’”

Just Posted

Man arrested, charged in connection with stabbing at Langford Lanes

Twenty-year-old Austin Bonner has been charged with aggravated assault

Community rallies behind Langford man battling lymphoma

More than $20,000 has been raised to help Mike Gordon

Victoria painter splashes some colour on a dreary situation

Six-week long James Bay construction project gives Teresa Waclawik an impromptu canvas

B.C. Transit to reduce service for spring

Route changes come in to effect April 9

Group calls for limited access to backcountry roads near Jordan River

Victoria Fish and Game Protective Association says closures would limit misuse of woods

Ottawa proposes restricted pot labels, packages

Packaging will include red stop sign with marijuana leaf and ‘THC’

Women’s Expo seeks to empower women this weekend

Victoria Women’s Expo set for Saturday and Sunday at Pearkes Recreation Centre

City of Victoria seeks artists to contribute to upcoming public exhibitions

Submissions for Commercial Alley gallery, bus shelter project due by April 9

Alberta budget plans for Trans Mountain expansion

Finance Minister Joe Ceci says expected revenues will be factored into budget forecasts

Plane filled with smoke lands at Nanaimo Airport

WestJet flight came in from Vancouver

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 20

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Rescued Comox canoer credits those ‘at the right place, at the right time’

James Milne was rescued in a hypothermic state Sunday near Goose Spit

Proposed gun bill attacked by gun owners and shooting victims

The federal government tabled the bill today in order to tighten the sale and tracking of firearms

Most Read