A map Mayor Wayne Baldwin sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau detailing the prime minister’s visit and providing examples of how protocols were not followed. (City of White Rock graphic)

A map Mayor Wayne Baldwin sent to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau detailing the prime minister’s visit and providing examples of how protocols were not followed. (City of White Rock graphic)

B.C. mayor’s leaked letter shows Trudeau the way

White Rock mayor takes Trudeau team to task for ‘disrespectful behaviour’

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin wrote that he “cannot imagine” that the prime minister “would approve and be in support of such disrespectful behaviour towards a local government, its elected civic leaders, and City staff.”

The 1,100-word, four-page letter – complete with a graphic showing a map of Trudeau’s Nov. 15 walking route through the Five Corners area – was sent to three staffers at the prime minister’s office, the president of the Liberal Party of Canada, White Rock council and city staffers CAO Dan Bottrill and communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi.

As of Peace Arch News press time Thursday, the letter was not officially released by any of the offices. However, PAN obtained a copy independently.

The prime minister’s office confirmed Nov. 30 that the letter had been received, but said it would not be made public through them.

“As you know, the prime minister’s brief visit to White Rock was in his capacity as leader of the Liberal Party, and so I would refer you to Braeden Caley (Liberal Party of Canada director of communications) for further questions,” PMO press secretary Eleanore Catenaro told PAN Nov. 30.

Caley told PAN the next day that the Liberal party does not provide copies of correspondence received without the sender’s permission, and “it would be best for you to reach out to Mayor Wayne Baldwin if you are following up on statements he has made.”

Contacted last week, Baldwin told PAN he would release the letter, and that he asked City of White Rock communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi to email it.

Farrokhi told PAN she would send a copy of the letter the following Monday morning.

Monday, the City of White Rock said they would “expedite” a freedom-of-information (FOI) request. As of press time, it was not formally received.

After posting an article online Wednesday about attempts to have the letter released, PAN received a leaked copy.

The letter gives reasoning of why Baldwin thought the prime minister’s visit did not follow “proper protocols and procedures.

It says Liberal South Surrey-White Rock candidate Gordie Hogg – whom it describes as “a seasoned politician” – appeared to have invited a “select group” of individuals to welcome the prime minister “right in front of our City Hall.” It made note that some of the invited individuals “do not live in White Rock.”

The letter says that while Baldwin understands a rally may not be an official visit, “when a City Hall is the marshalling point and its front lobby is used for a refuge, the situation changes.”

The graphic provides details of what took place at city hall before the prime minister toured Five Corners, in the lead-up to the Dec. 11 federal byelection.

“Lobby used by Prime Minister’s security detail, other staff related to the visit, and the Federal Liberal candidate for South Surrey-White Rock, including his guests, media, and members of his campaign team. They used City Hall’s location as Marshalling point to assess Prime Minister’s tour route and as their refuge for over 30 minutes. Mayor, White Rock City Council, and City staff not notified of details of the visit…” the map notes.

Baldwin wrote that it would have been a “wonderful opportunity and honour for Council and City staff” to have been made aware, adding that he would have excused himself from a three-day Union of BC Municipalities meeting to welcome Trudeau.

Baldwin thanked Trudeau for visiting the city, and “I hope you can accept my sincere apology for writing you under such circumstances, but I felt it was important that you knew the reasons as to why the elected civic leaders of White Rock, especially me as the Mayor of White Rock, were not there to formally welcome you to our spectacular City by the Sea.”

Baldwin noted that if White Rock council had been notified of the visit, city staff would have set aside space in city hall to accommodate the prime minister’s staff, minimized potential customer service interruptions and addressed any pedestrian and vehicle-safety concerns.

Baldwin expressed his gratitude to Trudeau and minister of infrastructure and communities Amarjeet Sohi for the $11.8 million grant the city received through the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund to address “naturally occurring arsenic and manganese in our water.”

“Our water does meet Health Canada’s Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality; however, the arsenic levels in some of the wells peaked above the Maximum Allowable Concentration levels at times.”

Baldwin said it would “be a privilege” to meet the prime minister to discuss White Rock’s needs, give the prime minister a tour of the community and show him the progress the city has made on its water treatment processes and how the research technologies can benefit other communities, “including First Nation communities.”

“I humbly ask that your team at the PMO coordinates this meeting through my office.”

Below is a copy of Baldwin’s letter.

Baldwin Letter by PAN editor on Scribd

Just Posted

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

No dental coverage for low income Canadians. (File photo)
OPINION: Penticton MP’s proposal for universal dental coverage rejected

One in 3 Canadians have no dental coverage, with COVID making it even worse

The weekly COVID-19 map for June 6 to 12. (BC CDC)
South Okanagan sees only 5 new cases in last week

The Similkameen Valley went a second week without any new cases

Sandra Krauer, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki and Barb Hoolaeff were in Skaha Park to announce the return of Ribfest for September, 2021. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Ribfest returns to Penticton

Festival runs from Sept. 17 - 19 at Skaha Lake Park with proceeds going to new splash park

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read