KAMLOOPS - Coun. Donovan Cavers will not apologize for who he is or how he conducts himself as a politician; even if it doesn’t make him any friends.
The councillor, not a stranger to controversy or the odd temper tantrum in council chambers, is most recently in hot water for an email he sent to city staffers. The email was obtained in a freedom of information request by Radio NL and Cavers believes the whole situation has been blown out of proportion.
“In a nutshell, I sent an email. I sent one email with an expletive,” Cavers says. “I’m pretty sure that somebody on council leaked it.”
He believes the radio station was tipped off to a period of three weeks beginning the last days of August 2015 where he admittedly sent an email to Public Works Director Jen Fretz and Chief Administrative Officer David Trawin. In this email Cavers questioned the city’s choice to hire SLR consulting to review the proposed Ajax Mine, but also baits Trawin personally, questioning his stock options and choice of residence:
"I know (because I've seen the annual director financial disclosures) that your investments are "heavily weighted" toward funds that are into oil, gas, coal, etc.
At least live up in Aberdeen near the mine site so that probably balances off your investment choices."
“I know he leaves his personal biases at the door. I shouldn’t have said that,” Cavers said of Trawin in an interview today, admitting he was very frustrated at the time.
However, the councillor did not expect the reaction from Mayor Peter Milobar he received.
"Your comments and add on’s in this email and many others (using an asterisk doesn’t make the swearing any better) are in my opinion continually treading a fine line."
Milobar concluded by saying he would not be averse to looking into a formal censure, to which Coun. Arjun Singh agreed.
“I was a bit upset that he would come down on me so hard. I didn't think it was so bad. I wished that Peter would stand up for councillors. He’s often, kind of, just trying to keep things nice and happy,” Cavers says.
He adds with the exception of Singh, none of his fellow councillors spoke to him personally about his behaviour, nor, to his knowledge, did they agree with a possible censure.
Cavers believes he has a good relationship with his fellow council members, but feels strongly Radio NL was told by one of his colleagues to request specific correspondence about the mine, during specific dates at the end of the summer. Cavers thinks the likelihood the radio station stumbled upon these emails by accident is 'suspicious.'
“It's a little bit uncomfortable. If someone was trying to get me formally censured that's a very backhanded way about it,” Cavers says.
In text messages between Singh and Cavers, Singh tells his counterpart that his bad behaviour has lost him his effectiveness as a councillor.
"Singh: You need to say sorry again, brother
Cavers: So long as you’re thinking about the impacts I don’t worry much about what you think of me personally."
For Cavers, the issues that affect the residents of Kamloops are what matter the most. He says he 'is an open book' and will speak his mind on things he thinks are important— especially the proposed Ajax Mine.
“People elect us to get things done and move the city forward. I personally don't have any issues between my council colleagues, but we're not sending each other Valentine’s cards. People elected us to look after their best interests. When major issues come up, tensions are going to flair.”
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