Pitt Meadows council in 2014. (City of Pitt Meadows)

News Views: The victim

The woman who Pitt Meadows Coun. Dave Murray was convicted of sexually assaulting, 30 years ago, when she was 14, wants a byelection called now to replace him.

Murray is on unpaid leave from council, and has tendered his resignation to take effect on Jan. 2, thus avoiding a byelection because it falls in the discretionary period.

Council, shortly after Murray was found guilty by a judge last month, decided in a 4-2 vote to keep the number of councillours at six until the municipal election in October 2018, saving the city time and money.

That does not appease the woman who Murray sexually assaulted. She lives in Pitt Meadows and in a letter to council this week said his name should no longer appear in council minutes and asked for his resignation to take effect immediately.

“Why do I have to wait two more months before I can stop seeing my abuser’s name listed as an employee of the City of Pitt Meadows or in the council minutes.”

The woman, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, said she’s suffered from anxiety and felt uncomfortable in the community out of fear of running into the man who molested her as a teenager.

It would cost $30,000 for a byelection, according to staff, and it would conclude by March.

The majority of council reasons that six members can handle all duties until next fall.

And no doubt they could.

But should they?

No.

The right thing to do is to hold a byelection, to spare the victim any further pain.

The amount of money and time it would take is well worth it, to show support for all victims of sexual abuse, and to make a statement that the Local Government Act needs to be changed.

It currently contains nothing that prevents a person with a criminal conviction from continuing to hold office.

Not holding a byelection also turns the issue into a political one.

Debating whether another person is needed on council to discuss transportation and planning items is secondary to the nature of the crime that occurred. So is the cost of a byelection, a drop in the city’s overall budget.

Having one would not sway the balance of power that currently exists on council, unless one of the four who routinely side together goes another way.

Moreover, not holding a byelection re-victimizes the woman, as she has stated.

After 30 years, she deserves some peace.

– Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News

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