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Delta Mayor Harvie responds to council's allegations

Harvie insists he’s always available and did not exceed his role representing the city
delta council chamber
Council chambers at the City of Delta.

The events of this week are disappointing and discouraging, but it’s important to move on for the best interest of the City of Delta.

That’s what Mayor George Harvie told the Optimist on Thursday in an interview to respond to Monday’s surprising moves by city council, which unanimously voted in favour of a series of motions aimed at limiting his activities without their approval, as well as his removal from the Metro Vancouver board of directors effective July 1.

Harvie also wanted to respond to a statement by the group following the council meeting as well as a subsequent statement issued Thursday, which outlined several allegations regarding his “regrettable actions” that prompted the need “to re-establish order and good governance.”

Wanting the various employee groups to be contacted for their views on his leadership, Harvie said, “I’m very concerned that we need to move on. I’m taking very seriously the bruising this has caused to our Delta brand and the good work that our staff do, and I’m determined to get back on track and leave the politics for 2026.”

Harvie is in his second term as Metro’s chair, but council’s move to remove him from the board of directors means the regional district will now have to find a new board chair.

Harvie, who was named chair for his latest term by acclamation by the board in December, said he made sure to highlight Delta’s various issues and concerns at the Metro level, such as port policing, dredging and trying to get a second exit from Ladner, so it is strange the other council members claimed they are concerned he was not representing the city’s interest.

Coun. Dylan Kruger should also be aware what is happening at the region level since he was appointed to be on key committees, added Harvie.

The statement by the councillors, which was not signed by Couns. Alicia Guichon, who is on maternity leave, or Jessie Dosanjh even though he voted in favour of the motions, claims, “Months of non-communication, abuse of authority, and increasingly erratic behaviour from the Mayor have led council to lose confidence in his ability to represent Delta’s interests at the regional table.”

The statement also claims despite several attempts to re-establish communication, including direct calls, text messages and emails, most members of council have not been permitted to speak with him outside of formal meetings for more than six months.

“During this time, the Mayor has increasingly been making decisions outside of his authority that have created an untenable working environment for staff and council. The Mayor has also, on a number of occasions, attempted to prevent council from gaining access to information, citing his authority ‘as Mayor and CEO of the city,’” the statement reads.

Among other allegations, the statement also notes Harvie attempted to direct serious policy matters outside of a formal council resolution.

A recent report on port policing was requisitioned outside of his authority, without council resolution, and at a cost of tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars, the statement notes.

Harvie responded that the important report by Peter German was presented at council last fall with Kruger highly complementary of the report.

Saying it was indicated to him late last year that political campaigning and fundraising was underway for Kruger’s 2026 mayoralty bid, Harvie said he only did not want to attend any meetings that are political.

“I thought I was sidelined very quickly without them even asking if I was sure I would not run again, so that created a real problem for me. I have always been available, I’m always available to media, I’m available for council. I never received any calls or requests from them. They did ask for a meeting with the group but I do not attend political meetings, especially under these circumstances, and that’s my right. The mayor does not have to attend political meetings. These were meetings that were held at people’s homes,” said Harvie.

Also noting he plans on running for mayor again, Harvie said he has asked the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to send an official to talk to council regrading a council’s duties and a mayor’s responsibilities.

“The mayor is the CAO of the city and responsible for good governance, and I do not want to leave this term as mayor that I did not do anything to get us back in a situation of having good governance with people respecting each other,” he said. “I think they underestimated the rage that came on them from the community as to what they did. My emails are flooded with support and so are my text messages, but what really bothers me now is we need to move on from this.”

Harvie is in his second term as mayor with the last municipal election seeing his entire Achieving for Delta slate elected to council, but Kruger told the Optimist things have deteriorated significantly, particularly in the last six months as Harvie cut himself off from the rest off council and would not communicate.

Saying he’s hurt at the allegation their move was political, Kruger said their action this week was a last resort, regrettable since he had idolized Harvie.

“We’ve been trying for six months to establish a line of communication with the mayor who, for some reason, left us completely out last fall. We have tried, all of us, individually and collectively to try to understand what’s going on here, and the only response I did get from the mayor about a month ago when I told him we needed a team meeting, he told me, ‘There is no team. It’s your team, I’m not on any team…It’s very sad for all of us.

“As you know, I’ve been the mayor’s closest supporter over the years. We all campaigned together in 2018 and 2022 It’s deeply painful, especially with somebody who I considered a very close friend in my life,” said Kruger.

“To be treated this way and to be accused of playing politics is not only inaccurate, it’s also very hurtful,” he added.

Kruger said they can not comment on a court matter regarding Paramjit Singh Grewal, former general manager of economic development and stakeholder relations in the mayor’s office. The Optimist broke this story online and in print this week.