News / Calgary

Calgary councillors to review their own campaign ethics and rules

Cross-ward guidelines dictate how politicians should act when outside their areas

Council is looking at the rules surrounding councilors campaigning outside their current ward boundaries. A redrawing of the boundaries means some councillors will need to campaign in new areas.

Metro File

Council is looking at the rules surrounding councilors campaigning outside their current ward boundaries. A redrawing of the boundaries means some councillors will need to campaign in new areas.

The campaign trail is a long and winding road, and can be hard to navigate for some – especially when it comes to municipal politics.

Rules drafted by administration could dictate how councillors interact with the public in and outside of election times; drawing some clear lines of etiquette and ethics.

Coun. Ward Sutherland, who asked administration to draft the rules, said it’s about time the city update some of their documents, because without regulations in place, or clear language, there’s lots up for interpretation.

The guidelines dictate councillors to give each other a heads up if they’re going to specific community events, and give a heads up if campaigning outside their ward. They aren’t to help constituents outside of their ward with issues and they can’t use city funded materials to campaign.

“They’re not restrictive, it’s just protocol – common courtesy we should be doing,” said Sutherland. “This is very clear cut, and if you go outside of the guidelines and it's brought to the advisor’s attention, you really don’t have any excuse, and you need to rectify your behaviour.”

Coun. Sean Chu, who has been criticized publicly for blurring lines and door knocking outside of his ward, said he doesn’t think it’s a big deal.

“I’m losing Hidden Valley and Country Hill to Ward 3. If Jim Stevenson wants to run I’d say, 'Jim, do whatever necessary for the next campaign,'” said Chu. “But that’s just me.”

He said now he forwards any inquiries directed at him to the correct ward office, he has separate campaigning materials and makes sure constituents know he’s on the campaign trail.