Dawson Creek Chamber withdraws from Resource Coalition as a precaution after Fraser announces candidacy

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DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce says that it only withdrew from the Northeast BC Resource Municipalities Coalition to ensure that the organisation doesn’t break their own governing bylaws.

In a letter released yesterday, Chamber President Wanda Maundrell announced that the Chamber would be withdrawing from the Coalition due to the announcement last week from Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser, who declared his candidacy as an Independent in the upcoming provincial election for Peace River North.

“Our Board feels that it is not in the best interest of our membership for us to be engaged in partisan politics,” stated Maundrell in the letter. “We engaged with the Coalition under the impression we would be focusing on issues in North East BC and not partisan politics. We respectfully withdraw from active participation within the Coalition until such a time as we feel these issues have been resolved to our satisfaction.”

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The Chamber’s Executive Director Kathleen Connolly clarified today that her organisation’s withdrawal was simply due to the fact that the Chamber doesn’t want to break any bylaws that govern it. “We are governed are governed by the Board of Trade Act under Industry Canada is very clear that we aren’t supposed to be involved in anything that may appear, or have the perception to be politically motivated,” said Connolly. “So it’s really not anything to do with the Coalition, its really about us making sure that we meet our own bylaws, and that we’re representing our membership. It’s election season, we would back off of anything where there would be a perception that we may be supporting any particular candidate, or any particular party. In my board’s opinion, the very best and wisest thing to do us just step back from anything that might have a perception of such nature.”

Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser says that it is unfortunate that the Chamber decided to leave, especially since he is no longer Taylor’s representative in the Coalition. “The Coalition is apolitical. Regardless of that, the Council in Taylor resolved to appoint [District Councillor] Betty Ponto as the representative back on the January 16th meeting,” said Fraser. “The reason it hasn’t been announced is because we sent the letter to the Mayor’s Executive Committee, because they have to ratify that.” Fraser added that he is stepping back from the Coalition until after the provincial election on May 9th. “I’ll either go back on to the Coalition after the election either as the Mayor, or to work with them as the MLA.”

Connolly stated today that though the Chamber was notified of Fraser’s withdrawal from the Coalition this morning, the Chamber is standing by their decision.

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