Councillor says colleague is 'ignorant moron,' sparking complaint to integrity commissioner

·2 min read

A Calgary city councillor says he won't walk back a critical tweet about a council colleague, even as that comment may be forwarded to the city's integrity commissioner.

In a tweet posted early Thursday morning, Coun. Evan Woolley said fellow city councillor Sean Chu was "one of the most ignorant morons on council."

Woolley was responding to a thread discussing the possibility of reallocating $20 million from the Calgary police budget in favour of agencies that could help those experiencing addiction or mental health issues.

Chu said that he was upset by Woolley's tweet, adding that he plans to report it to the city's integrity commissioner.

"[My staff and I] think that Calgarians [expect] better of us, to act like adults. That's why I'm doing the adult thing," Chu said. "Also, the budget is coming up, and I think I want to save my energy on how to reduce tax instead of fighting in public."

Woolley says he won't apologize

Reached after Chu called for an apology, Woolley said he had no willingness to do so — adding that he wished he had called Chu out earlier.

"I'm super angry for some of the behaviours I've witnessed over the last number of years, and I think it's time to call that out," he said.

Woolley cited Chu's 2019 comments during a discussion surrounding supervised consumption sites, when Chu said drug use and addiction are "a choice," not a disease.

Woolley lost his brother to an overdose, and the councillor said he wished he had called out Chu more forcefully at the time.

"He has commented that global warming is not something that has happened, he has called Ireland's decision to allow same-sex marriage a 'social revolution,'" Woolley said. "I promise to speak out more forcibly in the future about issues like this."

Integrity commissioner

Unless Woolley apologizes, Chu said, he will ask council's watchdog, the integrity commissioner, to investigate his colleague for violating council's code of conduct.

The role of the new integrity commissioner remains unknown at this time, though this week council voted in favour of a new candidate, who should be named soon.

"I'm going to report this to the [integrity] commissioner, and leave it in that person's hand," Chu said. "I will let that person decide."

Woolley said he is standing by his tweet, arguing he has been diplomatic through his two terms on council.

"An election is happening a year from now, and I think it's important that Calgarians know who our colleagues are and the things they stand for," he said.