Just two days into Saskatoon’s civic election campaign, there’s been a complaint against two mayoral candidates.
The City Clerk’s Office received the complaint Friday morning from a concerned citizen after they found Don Atchison referred to as “mayor” on his campaign Facebook page, while Charlie Clark’s page similarly referred to him as a “councillor.”
According to the code of conduct for Saskatoon City Council, incumbents cannot refer to themselves as “Councillor X or Mayor Y” in campaign materials.
A review of the Facebook pages revealed six different references to Atchison as mayor and one describing Clark as councillor.
The complainant, Ashu Solo, alleged Atchison had similarly violated this rule during his 2012 re-election bid.
He suggested due to the repeat infraction, Atchison should either be removed from the race or removed from office after the election.
While that is unlikely to occur, there could be consequences for either candidate if they are elected.
The complaint will be forwarded to a special council committee that has the power to decide what to do with a councillor or mayor in contravention of the code.
“The committee can decide to investigate the complaint or not,” said City Clerk Joanne Sproule, who formally received the complaints. “If they determine there’s been a breach, they can indeed recommend sanctions to city council.”
She said those sanctions could include removal from provincial or national organizations all the way to the reduction of pay or benefits.
Both candidates removed references to their incumbent titles by 4 p.m. Friday after being notified by the city’s returning officer of the violations.
A spokesperson for Don Atchison’s campaign said they had “great respect” for the code and they had worked to remove the references as soon as they were notified.
Charlie Clark told 650 CKOM he has worked to keep his incumbency away from his candidacy for mayor and the one reference to him being a councillor was an oversight.