Interest charge

Vancouver city councilor’s conflict of interest charge dismissed

County of Vancouver Michael Wiebe will not have to resign and will not be disqualified from office due to allegations that he failed to declare a conflict of interest when promoting and voting for the expansion of the Vancouver’s Temporary Accelerated Patio Program (TEPP) in Spring 2020.

On Monday, British Columbia Supreme Court Justice JJ Steeves dismissed a motion against Wiebe brought by 15 Vancouver Charter plaintiffs.

Steeves ruled that the Green Party councilor’s ownership of Vancouver’s Eight ½ restaurant and a partial stake in the Portside Pub did not constitute a direct conflict of interest, as the TEPP broadly applies to all restaurants in Vancouver.

“I find that the Respondent had a common pecuniary interest with other members of the Restaurant and Bar Owners Class. There is no evidence that he claimed a personal interest in the sense that he is distinct from other restaurant and bar owners,” Steeves said.

In a statement, Wiebe thanked his supporters.

“I was doing exactly what I was running on – advocating for small businesses and helping businesses in Vancouver survive restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The Eight ½ restaurant was one of the first 14 businesses to receive temporary patio permits from the city.

An earlier independent investigation by attorney Raymond E. Young found that “Wiebe’s conflict of interest actions cannot be viewed as an error in judgment made in good faith.”

Young, who was nominated by Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart, said Weibe, “[wore] two hats in front of City staff: that of municipal councilor and that of merchant. »

Young recommended that Wiebe resign and be disqualified from serving on city council, the park board, and other local government bodies.

Last year, Weibe likened his actions to city councilors who own property and vote to cut property taxes, though he also issued an apology.

“Despite my best intentions, I inadvertently made a mistake in this matter and I am deeply sorry,” he said in September 2020.