Kamloops councillor concerned about political independence after statement from Chamber of Commerce - InfoNews

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Kamloops councillor concerned about political independence after statement from Chamber of Commerce

Kamloops city councillor Arjun Singh is pictured in this file photo.
Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
July 27, 2016 - 6:30 PM

KAMLOOPS -  A local city councillor would like an explanation from the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce about a recent media release saying a fellow councillor should not have spoken to a federal panel on the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project as an individual.

The Chamber issued a release Monday saying Coun. Donovan Cavers shouldn’t have expressed his own opinion; instead, chamber president Ryan Scorgie said Cavers should have adhered to the city’s neutral position.

Coun. Arjun Singh wants some clarifcation from the local business group.

“I just wonder what they’re trying to get at there," he says.

Councillors’ independence is important to Singh and he sees the ability to voice opinions as something essential to local government.

“My point is individual councillors have always been allowed to make comment and I think it’s important for us to talk about it to safeguard that,” he says. “We have the opportunity to speak on community issues, especially if council hasn’t taken a position yet, but even after.”

Singh says local politicians have independence, and political party rules and caucuses don’t hold sway.

The issue doesn’t have to do with Cavers’ or the Chambers’ stance on the potential Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, he says, but the ability to comment on subject matter.

“Coun. Cavers... was very, very clear he was coming as a individual and not as a representative of city council,” he says.

Singh plans to write a letter to the Chamber asking for a clarification of the organization’s concerns.

“I don’t know whether there was some sort of misunderstanding as to how council works, but there we go.”

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