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Metchosin councillor calls RCMP on mayor during closed-door meeting

Little alleges Ranns ‘screamed,’ threw agenda packet, pen, and papers at her. Ranns disagrees.

By Jimmy Thomson
July 23, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Metchosin councillor calls RCMP on mayor during closed-door meeting

Little alleges Ranns ‘screamed,’ threw agenda packet, pen, and papers at her. Ranns disagrees.

By Jimmy Thomson
Jul 23, 2022
Left: Coun. Marie-Térèse Little. Right: Mayor John Ranns. Photos from District of Metchosin.
Left: Coun. Marie-Térèse Little. Right: Mayor John Ranns. Photos from District of Metchosin.
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Metchosin councillor calls RCMP on mayor during closed-door meeting

Little alleges Ranns ‘screamed,’ threw agenda packet, pen, and papers at her. Ranns disagrees.

By Jimmy Thomson
July 23, 2022
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Metchosin councillor calls RCMP on mayor during closed-door meeting
Left: Coun. Marie-Térèse Little. Right: Mayor John Ranns. Photos from District of Metchosin.

A disagreement over undeveloped land in Metchosin this week escalated to the point where a councillor called the RCMP on the mayor. 

At a closed-door evening meeting in Mayor John Ranns’s office, councillors were discussing a hotly debated sale of 45 hectares of municipal land to the CRD when the mayor lost his temper and yelled at his colleague.

“He was repeatedly screaming at me. Repeatedly,” Coun. Marie-Térèse Little told Capital Daily. She was not physically hurt in the exchange but says she was “shaken to the core.”

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Ranns admits he raised his voice and “said a couple of things. Two sentences,” he said. 

The councillor alleges Ranns threw his agenda packet, his pen, and other papers at her. He denies he threw them at her, saying he slammed them on the table, and they skidded across it.

Coun. Andy MacKinnon, who was in the meeting, said from his perspective the truth is in the middle: “It was slammed down on the table in her direction.” 

“There’s no need for violence,” Little says. “It’s not needed, it’s not warranted, it’s not welcome.” 

Other councillors who were present have confirmed the altercation happened, but did not comment on the specifics. 

The RCMP also did not respond to a request for information. Police took statements, Little said, adding that she is consulting lawyers and has not decided whether to lay charges. Ranns said he would welcome an investigation. 

“The evidence is clear,” he said. “I’ve invited her to proceed with some sort of formal investigation.” 

Little says she decided to call the RCMP because she felt threatened.

“I got up and I left, and said this is inappropriate, this is unacceptable, and unbecoming of the mayor,” she told Capital Daily. 

Residents who were at the council meeting that followed, in which Little and Ranns spent hours at the same table, said they saw at least one police officer in the room. Ranns said he was not interviewed by police.

“They—as I understand it—found no substance to the complaint.”

The councillor and the mayor have a history of strong disagreement—and the buffer land sale has been a particularly contentious issue in the small rural municipality.

The deal was shelved in February, but has remained a sore spot locally. It’s unclear why it was being discussed at the closed Monday meeting, and councillors have declined to elaborate.

A map showing the changed borders from the 2017 land swap between Sc'ianew, Langford, and Metchosin. Photo: Te'mekw Treaty Association

The sale of the land, which was originally set aside as a buffer between the development in Langford and rural Metchosin, was not made public until October. The land had been part of a border realignment and land swap in 2017. Metchosin intended to protect it as a green space. 

Some residents took issue with the sale price ($274,400, which is a third of what View Royal is getting for a smaller piece of land) and with the lack of consultation. 

The CRD wanted to use the land, adjacent to the Galloping Goose trail, for a park.

Much of the discussion has happened in in-camera meetings like the one on Monday.

“What do you do when you’re a mayor and you have somebody making statements that do not align with the evidence?” Ranns asked. “What you don’t do is what I did, I guess, which is raise my voice and slam my hand down on the table.” 

Coun. Kyara Kahakauwila was not present at the meeting, because she was on vacation. But the tension between the two was familiar to her.

“Every council has its tensions,” Kahakauwila said. “It’s been a challenging term.” 

Coun. Sharie Epp, who was present at the meeting, declined to comment on the matter—because the meeting was in-camera. 

MacKinnon confirmed the broad details about the meeting and that Coun. Little called the police regarding Mayor Ranns’s actions, but requested that the councillor and mayor themselves speak for their own actions. The tension between the two, he said, has been obvious for years.

“That’s an uncomfortable situation when you’re on council and you’re trying to conduct the people’s business,” he said.

Little said she intends to run for re-election in October, leaving open the possibility of a run for mayor. Ranns is not running again, after 35 years on council.

“Everybody has a breaking point, and I’m very disappointed that I hit the breaking point before I quit,” he said. “I’m disappointed with myself that I couldn’t contain my frustrations for another three months.”

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Jimmy Thomson
Managing Editor

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