Ombudsperson declines Terrace’s request for McCallum-Miller investigation

·2 min read

The Office of the Ombudsperson has denied the City of Terrace’s request to investigate the reasons Jessica McCallum-Miller gave for resigning from her city council seat Feb. 22.

Although the ombudsperson declined to investigate, the city was referred to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and the Local Government Management Association (LGMA) because they have done work on identifying consultants and could be in a position to help.

Kris Boland, Terrace chief administrative officer, met with municipal affairs officials March 5, and has a follow up meeting with the ministry and LGMA today (Mar. 11) to continue the discussion, according to the city.

McCallum-Miller, the youngest and also first Indigenous councillor in Terrace’s history, questioned, in a Facebook post, whether truth and reconciliation was a priority for council. She also levied allegations of systemic racism and sexism.

In the post, McCallum-Miller said she attempted to have council partake in cultural awareness training twice, and felt unheard and spoken over.

At a Feb. 25 committee of the whole meeting, Terrace mayor Carol Leclerc said COVID-19 one year ago scuttled council’s first attempt to complete the training, and after it was rescheduled for March 2021 with a Kitimat enterprise, McCallum-Miller indicated that she wanted a Tsimshian cultural training session.

“Unfortunately councillor McCallum-Miller brought in her letter of resignation on February 22 and the notice of motion for the Tsimshian portion did not reach the council table at that time,” Leclerc said at the meeting.

Staff have arranged for council to take a diversity and inclusion session virtually through the Kitimat Valley Institute on March 18. This is a six-hour workshop with an instructor using the Microsoft Teams platform.

City council has also been invited to participate, at no cost, in Indigenous cultural training with the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine starting on March 19 with the Nisga’a Nation via Microsoft Teams. The regional district is undergoing cultural training with each First Nation within its boundaries and municipalities have been invited to join in.

“It’s great because we’ll do it with all First Nations in the regional district, so it’ll be a long process but I’m looking forward going through all of this,” said Sean Bujtas, councillor, at the March 8 City of Terrace council meeting.

Saša Loggin, project director at the Skeena Diversity Society, part of the Resilience BC Anti-Racism Network, is scheduled to attend a committee of the whole meeting on March 17.

Ben Bogstie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Interior News