News / Calgary

Council drama: Diane Colley-Urquhart reacts to notion she threw colleague under the bus

Coun. Jeromy Farkas felt the Ward 13 councillor's absence at a meeting hindered their SW BRT motion

Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said she recorded the meeting she had with Coun. Jeromy Farkas on the SW BRT.

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Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart said she recorded the meeting she had with Coun. Jeromy Farkas on the SW BRT.

The SWBRT decision has long left the council floor, but as Monday's budgetary meetings are underway, it's unclear who is being thrown under the bus.

On Nov. 13, Coun. Jeromy Farkas' motion to pause the SW BRT for further review was overwhelmingly defeated, with Coun. Diane Colley-Urquhart (who signed in support of the motion) was absent from the meeting.

After that meeting, Farkas told reporters he felt thrown under the bus.

On Monday, as she was explaining her failed expedition to the Antarctic, Colley-Urquhart set the record straight about missing the motion debate.

In an odd turn of events, she said she originally had asked Farkas, during a recorded conversation on Nov 2, to put forward their ask as an administrative inquiry.

"We agreed that we would not submit a notice of motion," she said. "We agreed that we would submit an administrative inquiry and I gave all my reasons ... it's something that gets written in council ... it was really asking for a status report, a complete budget update. That way it wouldn't have been debated on the floor of council and it wouldn't have failed."

She said after that conversation the following Monday she found out that Farkas had already launched a media strategy, scheduled interviews and written blogs about the notice of motion, so she let her name stay on the motion – and now regrets that.

When asked if she was asserting it was her thrown under the bus, she didn't engage.

"I'm not punching down on this one," she said.

When asked about why she recorded the conversation she said she was "very concerned" about how the SW BRT ask would be handled.

When questions about Colley-Urquhart's claims, Farkas said he didn't want to turn the conversation into a "he said she said" debate in the media.

"It's time to honour the decision council made rather than rehash how it was done," he said. "We had a lot of ideas about how we wanted to bring it forward."

He said he obviously wouldn't have submitted the notice of motion if both parties weren't comfortable.

When asked about the conversation being recorded, Farkas was visibly taken aback. He said he wasn't informed of being recorded.

"I don't want to go too much into her personal details or what were the details about her being present (in the meeting) or not present," he said. "I'm looking forward to working with her as well as every other member of council and the mayor going forward."

Mayor Naheed Nenshi was unsure how to respond, other than iterating that it's important council members can work together in the spirit of trust and respect even though they may have differing points of view on how to move forward with their ideas and work them through council.

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