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Kelowna News

JONESIE: Kamloops mayor could learn from Kelowna's mayor about wielding power

FILE PHOTO - Kelowna city council
Image Credit: City of Kelowna
May 03, 2024 - 3:00 PM


Kamloops City Councillors should consider themselves lucky.

They have a bit of a bully for a mayor, but one who doesn’t know how to use his power properly. Reid Hamer-Jackson should have found time at the Southern Interior Local Government Association, which met in Kamloops this week, to chat with Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas.

He could give Reid a few lessons on wielding power.

Dyas rules his councillors with an iron first. He knows what powers he has and he uses them. Even when he doesn’t have power, he likes to think he does, like chastising reporters who challenge him over anything but particularly over his favourite issue — the one that paid him more money.

Marshall Jones, managing editor
Marshall Jones, managing editor

Dyas voted himself a significant raise. Councillors, too, but his ire is for those who voted against: Gord Lovegrove, Mohini Singh and Ron Cannan. Rick Webber voted against it, too, but we’ll come back to that.

I think Dyas desperately wanted a unanimous vote and that would have been nice to share the blame and anger of constituents. I think he tried to whip the vote, which would explain how most of them came up with the word ‘courage’ to defend the pay increases. I say ‘I think’ because quite unlike Kamloops, these councillors are cowed under Dyas. They are very careful about speaking up because they know repercussions will flow.

On the final vote, Dyas made sure it was unanimous. He pulled a little trick — made far too easy by councillors not paying attention — when he called for the vote, saw no hands for nay and recorded it unanimous. He knew there were dissenters. Just minutes later, Cannan pointed out that he did not vote in favour. Lovegrove, too.

But the mayor would have his way and ensure it was recorded as a unanimous vote.

Cannan and Singh tried to bring it back again to accurately record the dissenters and it would have passed except Webber turned tail.

Global News had a great get last night when they found that Lovegrove, Singh and Cannan were booted off the Central Okanagan Regional District board at the end of a marathon meeting. There was some trickery there too. Despite the Mayor’s statement sent to media that the changes were for councillors “to gain diverse experiences by serving on various committees" they seemed surprised by it. If they knew a review was coming, they didn’t seem to know their roles were changing.

They were replaced by Maxine DeHart, Luke Stack — and Rick Webber! Seems like a nice pat on the head and ‘atta boy’ from the mayor for saving him some face.

They are joined on the board by Dyas himself and, somehow, Loyal Wooldridge. Wooldridge had just finished resigning as chair of the regional district because he is seeking the NDP nomination in the next provincial election.

Wooldridge cited the loose language of the new council Code of Conduct, which says he “should consider requesting a leave of absence” while a nominee for higher office. Strange that Dyas should re-appoint him then. And I guess Charlie Hodge can’t benefit from Dyas’ “diverse experiences” because he’s still there.

Quite a coincidence that Dyas should strip only those who dared defy him on the salary issue from the regional board. I’m sure it’s also a coincidence that the regional board pays well — a $17,000 top up.

I also suspect there’s more reason to stick it to Cannan. He was by far the top vote-getter among councillors (it was always a rule that poll toppers got the regional district). But anyone who knows the former MP could guess he is likely to challenge Dyas for the mayor’s seat in the next election.

I think this move might just ensure it.

Is that why Dyas kicked him off the regional district? Is that why Dyas was so keen on ensuring his potential rival voted with him on raising mayor and councillor salaries, so Cannan couldn’t use that as fodder in his campaign?

I suspect that’s part of the equation.

So far, councillors are taking this silently, but to be fair, they’re all away in meetings so not responding to requests for comment.

These aren’t the same kinds of councillors as Kamloops, the ones who quickly side-lined and basically usurped their mayor of all his power.

That’s not going to happen to Tom Dyas, not like that.

But then again, these games of the arrogant kind is what helped get former mayor Colin Basran spectacularly binned so we'll see what happens.

— Marshall Jones is the Managing Editor of

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