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Kamloops Mayor Wife Covert Recording Sparks Legal Questions and Council Controversy

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Kamloops Mayor Wife Covert Recording Sparks Legal Questions and Council Controversy

Kamloops Mayor Wife Covert Recording Sparks Legal Questions and Council Controversy. In a surprising turn of events, Kamloops Mayor Reid Hamer-Jackson’s wife, Lori, recorded a telephone conversation between the mayor and the city’s Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), David Trawin, without their knowledge. This incident has raised questions about the legality of such recordings under the Criminal Code of Canada.

Legal Implications of the Recording

The recording of this conversation has sparked a debate regarding whether it constitutes a criminal offense under Canadian law. The Criminal Code of Canada allows the recording of conversations as long as one of the involved parties consents to it. However, in this case, both Mayor Hamer-Jackson and CAO Trawin were unaware of the recording, potentially violating the criminal code.

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The Mayor Explanation

Mayor Hamer-Jackson explained that while he was on the road and engaged in phone conversations, he would often ask his wife to take notes for him. On this particular occasion, his wife chose to record the conversation instead of taking notes. The mayor claimed he only discovered the recording after the call ended and emphasized that it was not done maliciously.

The mayor expressed his belief that CAO Trawin should have no issue with the recording, suggesting that he would have authorized it if he had known.

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Legal Opinion

According to Kamloops lawyer Iain Currie, the recording might not likely be considered a criminal code offense due to implied consent within a marriage, even if Mayor Hamer-Jackson was unaware of it. The criminal code typically criminalizes communication interceptions where neither party consents, which may not be applicable in this case.

However, Currie cautioned that publicly disclosing the transcript of the phone call at a council meeting could potentially lead to a breach of privacy under the provincial Privacy Act and a possible lawsuit.

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Concerns from Council Members

Kamloops Councilor Stephen Karpuk expressed concerns about the mayor’s handling of the situation. He believed that Mayor Hamer-Jackson should have disclosed his wife’s presence during the conversation and should have adhered to the policy of having private conversations when necessary.

Karpuk also questioned the distribution of the transcript to a citizen and the involvement of the mayor’s wife in this matter.

Communication Challenges

Mayor Hamer-Jackson explained his reasoning behind wanting the transcript read out at a public council meeting was to ensure transparency and avoid potential legal consequences for the municipal corporation. However, he cited communication restrictions in place that prevent direct communication with CAO Trawin unless a third party is present. Additionally, a designated councilor must review all written communication between the mayor and Trawin, a measure implemented following a workplace report that found the mayor had violated the council’s code of conduct in previous interactions with city employees.

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These restrictions apply not only to Mayor Hamer-Jackson but also to three other city employees who filed complaints against him, as per the recommendations of The Integrity Group’s workplace report.

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