The lawyer for a Calgary city councillor who faces a criminal charge in connection with an alleged road rage incident says he plans to mount a “vigorous defence” and questions why Edmonton police took more than eight months to investigate a minor offence.
Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra was charged with mischief under $5,000 stemming from an incident on April 2 during which Carra says he used his foot to “tap” the bumper of a vehicle after alleging it nearly hit his dog in a crosswalk.
Carra was charged on Friday, his first court date is Jan. 9.
According to sources, there is video of the incident.
Speaking for the first time since the charge was laid, Mayor Jyoti Gondek declined to answer reporters’ questions Monday because the case is “a live matter before the courts.”
“I can understand everyone’s desire to know more about the situation but as I’ve said, I simply can not comment on this matter at this time,” said Gondek.
Carra previously sanctioned
We are asked the Edmonton Police Service as to why it took so long to reach an investigative conclusion, but a spokesperson said EPS “won’t be providing any additional comment on the matter at this time.”
Carra stepped away from his role on the Calgary Police Commission in April and formally resigned last month.
In July, the fourth-term councillor apologized after the city’s integrity commissioner investigated and concluded Carra failed to disclose his investment in an Inglewood property, violating council’s code of conduct
In October 2021, Carra was elected by a narrow victory of 161 votes.
Others under scrutiny
Political scientist Lori Williams says “there’s no question” Carra’s criminal charge is “a problem” for his constituents.
“There are expectations that elected representatives behave sort of above the norm, that they at the very least comply with the law,” said Williams.
But beyond Ward 9, Williams says the bigger issue is that Carra is one of three councillors dealing with recent scrutiny related to legal or ethical issues.
Sean Chu was found guilty of discreditable conduct and disciplined under the Police Act for an inappropriate physical contact with a 16-year-old girl when he was a police officer in 1997, which came to light after our news broke the story in October 2021.
Last month, Premier Danielle Smith announced she has tasked the deputy ministers of Justice and Public Safety to look over the Calgary Police Commission’s review of the CPS misconduct investigation to determine if further action should be taken.
‘A significant toll’ on public confidence
Coun. Dan McLean was fined $500 for breaking the Local Authorities Election Act last week after accepting donations from corporations for an event during the 2021 election campaign, which is not permitted under the act.
In November, McLean apologized and stepped away from council committees and boards after a series of videos posted to social media purported to involve him participating in mocking Indigenous people, though the councillor was not seen on camera.
“This is very unusual in that three councillors with … questions swirling around them,” said Williams.
“It has to take a significant toll on the confidence the public has in this council, and it may to some degree affect their ability to effectively represent Calgarians.”