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Kamloops councillor called out by Chamber of Commerce

FILE PHOTO: Kamloops councillor Donovan Cavers has been called out for his comments before.
July 25, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - The Kamloops Chamber of Commerce has singled out a Kamloops city councillor for voicing his opinion at the recent federal pipeline hearings in Kamloops.

During the first day of hearings, Coun. Donovan Cavers spoke as an individual, not representing the city, and was critical of the project. The chamber has issued a press release, saying he shouldn’t have expressed his own opinion; instead, chamber president Ryan Scorgie says Cavers should have adhered to the city’s neutral position.

“The chamber believes that, when one accepts the role as an elected official, one must be prepared to publicly accept and adhere to the formal position of the organization," Scorgie says in the press release.

In an interview, he says an individual elected representative shouldn't step away from the elected position to make comments on a subject matter.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to say 'I’m not going to be the elected official at this point and make comments on this,'” Scorgie says.

Cavers wasn’t available for an interview, but did say via a messaging service he was surprised by the press release.

“It would be interesting to read the transcript of the discussion in which the decision to issue their press release was made,” he wrote.

Coun. Denis Walsh also attended part of the hearings and spoke to the panel, and also not as a representative of the city and yet he wasn't named or targetted by the chamber. Scorgie says the release only mentioned Cavers because they were using his actions as an example of what the chamber doesn’t support.

“We often monitor what city councillors are doing,” Scorgie says. “We like to make sure we know what they’re doing and representing themselves as.”

Cathy McLeod issued a press release supporting the pipeline on July 20, while the hearings in Kamloops were going on. Scorgie says McLeod was fine to do so, because she was doing it as an elected representative of the riding, while Cavers was not speaking as a representative of the city.

Scorgie didn’t have a comment on Senator Nancy Greene-Raine’s comments at the panel hearing, because he wasn’t aware of what they were or how she represented herself.

At the panel hearings a representative of the chamber spoke in favour of the pipeline, citing the project's expected economic impact; Cavers was critical of the project, bringing up climate change and the environmental impact.

Scorgie says Cavers’s position has nothing to do with the chamber’s response.

The hearings are ongoing. They're goal is to collect public feedback to the proposed expansion of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project.

It's not the first time Cavers has been called out for speaking his mind.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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