Saanich CAO started the year retweeting former mayor Frank Leonard’s comment that politics are “Trump-like” in Saanich. Screenshot

Trump-like comparison puts Saanich CAO in hotseat

Atwell election prediction draws Trump comparison from former mayor

The combined actions of Saanich’s current city manager and ex-mayor have added fuel to the ongoing controversy around Saanich council and the dangers of social media this week.

On New Year’s Day Frank Leonard retweeted a Saanich News’ story based on Mayor Richard Atwell’s intentions to run in the upcoming 2018 election and his speculation there could be three new members on council.

In his retweet, Leonard added the commentary “Rather Trump-like in Saanich.”

Tweeting stories about local government isn’t new for Leonard, though he rarely adds political comments. What caught the attention of Atwell and others in Saanich was that Saanich CAO Paul Thorkelsson retweeted Leonard’s tweet, comment and all, a few hours later.

And it’s the retweet that has been noticed in the already delicate Saanich political theatre.

UVic political scientist Michael Prince called it unprofessional. One Saanich councillor called it unnecessary, adding Thorkelsson should know better.

“This retweet by the CAO of a tweet by the former mayor which is critical of the present mayor is ill-advised and inappropriate,” said Prince, UVic’s Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy. “It crosses the line between a neutral pubic service and the politics of council.”

Thorkelsson’s response said the retweet was neither an endorsement or support, but rather he thought that the comment was unrelated to the article.

Leonard, who was Saanich’s mayor for 18 years until Atwell defeated him in 2014, is the chair of the Agricultural Land Commission, an appointment he’s held since May of 2015.

When asked, Atwell said the retweet by Thorkelsson didn’t bother him too much, but he was surprised to see it.

“The former mayor tweets like crazy… so I don’t think he’s really left municipal politics, he’s very much engaged in it,” Atwell said. “Is that professional for the chair of the ALC? I certainly wouldn’t expect the former mayor to come up to me and say, ‘I think you’re being Trump-like.’”

reporter@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Retired Gordon Head teacher not ready to ride into the sunset

86-year-old keeping active with marathon paddling trek and week-long cycling tour

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

‘On the Cusp’ debuts at Victoria store front

Camosun Visual Arts students present new exhibit

UVic’s Gustavson goes carbon neutral for air travel

As a way to offset the frequent airplane travel that comes with… Continue reading

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Ballet Victoria soirée fundraiser a prelude to final show of season

Company winds up its 15th season in the city with Peter Pan next month

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Most Read