Langley's top Mountie 'reassigned' amid questions about mayor's gala and public money
VANCOUVER -- The top Mountie in Langley is no longer in charge and the RCMP isn’t saying why — but it may have to do with a charity gala, public dollars, and a favour for the city's mayor.
Emails obtained by CTV News show Mayor Val van den Broek organizing the Langley Mayor’s Gala in December and January, hoping that she can get more RCMP officers to attend at $150 a ticket.
Langley Supt. Murray Power wrote to his staff in December, saying he would like to “thank each Sgt. for the thoughtful and receptive discussion on participating and recruiting attendance at the upcoming Mayor’s gala,” and asking for ideas on “how we can get more members there.”
One idea, he writes: “Four hour OT shift (approved by me) is enough to cover the costs for two persons.”
Criminologist Rob Gordon says if overtime was paid, it’s public money, going to a private event, with a lot of political pressure from the mayor.
“I think that’s wrong. I think the superintendent needs to take a course in ethics,” he said.
The RCMP’s E Division would only say that there was a “temporary reassignment” in place, and that anything further was a private matter.
Reached late Thursday, Langley City Mayor Val van den Broek said she had not heard of any overtime scheme, and as far as she knew every officer in attendance had paid for their own ticket.
The event, held at the Cascades Casino on Jan. 25, was a huge success, raising some $56,000 for the Langley Memorial Hospital, and the mayor said she was proud to have helped do good for her community.
“The members bought tickets through Eventbrite with their own money,” said the mayor, who is on leave herself from the RCMP while she is mayor. “(Power) is their employee, they have their internal processes.”
She said that she had been told Supt. Power had been reassigned to Green Timbers, the RCMP’s divisional headquarters in Surrey. Meanwhile, Insp. Sukh Parmar will run day-to-day affairs at the detachment.
Two photos taken at the event that show the party appearing to get raucous were taken after the official party had finished, she said.
The event is not to be confused with the Township of Langley Mayor's Gala, which is held in co-ordination with a firefighters charity in September.
The City of Langley party also raised concerns at Langley city council, whose members lauded the mayor for throwing a "wonderful gala," but chided her for using city logos without getting council approval.
That prompted a motion passed back in January to re-examine the costs of the event, as well as any possible costs paid by the RCMP. A report has been completed but it hasn’t been released publicly, said Deputy Mayor Gayle Martin.
“We are waiting to see a report. Until council sees the report I can’t comment about the cost,” she told CTV News.
That the RCMP hasn’t said more about any costs borne by the gala is concerning, said Don Davies, a Vancouver MP who is also the NDP’s deputy public safety critic.
“There has to be a transparent and comprehensive investigation into what went on here. We need to assess whether or not there were ethical questions,” he said.
“The public has a right to know and we as parliamentarians ought to be demanding full accountability and transparency in what went on here."
Power didn’t respond to an email sent by CTV News. Instead, an auto-reply said he is “away from the office,” and to contact Insp. Sukh Parmar or Insp. Steve Wade.