Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu vowed Thursday to remain in his seat, despite building pressure for him to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor when he served as a city police officer.
“I was duly elected by the people of Ward 4 and I intend to stay in this position,” Chu told a news conference.
Chu recounted his version of the 1997 incident and called the timing of the information coming out before the election a “character assassination.”
Most city councillors have called for Chu to resign, as have Mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek and Premier Jason Kenney. A protest is planned for Sunday at noon at City Hall.
After a close race Monday against DJ Kelly, Chu retained his seat by 52 votes. On Thursday, Gondek asked the province to take action and said she will not swear him in as councillor with his elected colleagues on Monday.
“He won’t be sworn in by me,” she said.
Kenney said earlier this week that Chu should resign if the allegations were proven to be true.
“If these claims are true and these revelations are correct, then I think it would be the honourable thing to step aside,” Kenney said.
Chu has been under a storm cloud since last Friday, when CBC News reported that Chu had faced disciplinary action in 1997 for “having inappropriate physical contact” with a 16-year-old when he was a 34-year-old police officer. In the time since, more details have emerged about that incident as well as a separate domestic violence call. No charges were laid in either incident.
In a statement, Chu denied any wrongdoing and said he met the woman “at a licensed establishment where all persons are required to be 18 years of age or older.”
In light of the close race, Kelly says he will be applying for a vote recount under the Local Authorities Elections Act.
“Those revelations are, obviously for me, deeply concerning,” Kelly said. “My thoughts are primarily with the victim.”
Councillors and others react
The allegations against Chu sparked reaction from council colleagues and others.
Conservative Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner retracted her endorsement of Chu.
Despite her change of mind, people did criticize Rempel Garner for not making a statement until after the election results were finalized.
Other city council members expressed their desire to do something about Chu’s presence on council.
As former Mayor Naheed Nenshi transitions out of public office, he shared his thoughts on Chu.
Calgary Police Chief Mark Neufeld also made a statement, noting the changes in processing internal investigations at the time of the alleged incident when compared to today.