Langley City Coun. Gayle Martin said a written response from Cloverdale-Langley City MP Tamara Jansen has failed to explain a controversial comment that described the City as a “ghost town.”
At the Monday, Jan. 11 virtual meeting of City council, Martin said a Jansen email to mayor Val van den Broek did not directly refer to those remarks.
“I’m disapointed,” Martin commented.
“She has not addressed that.”
Martin, who originally raised the issue at council, wanted a follow-up letter sent, but during the discussion, lost her connection to the video meeting, resulting in a decision by the rest of council to postpone the vote on a letter until the next meeting of council.
During Monday’s meeting, Coun. Rudy Storteboom said he was “personally offended” by the “ghost town” comment, but doubted council will get an apology from Jansen.
“We’ll just hope it is a learning experience for our MP,” Storteboom said.
Coun. Rosemary Wallace suggested council should seek a meeting with the MP by videoconference to discuss the matter.
“We need to have a face-to-face conversation with her,” Wallace said.
Jansen warned “Langley City is becoming a ghost town” during a Dec. 7 debate on a Conservative proposal calling for the federal government to halt scheduled tax increases for small businesses.
“Small business owners are drowning in despair right now,” Jansen said.
A Dec. 14 letter from council to Jansen asked for a “written explanation as to why she made the comment that Langley City is becoming a ghost town.”
Jansen released a copy of her Dec. 17 reply to van den Broek that did not mention the “ghost town” comment in so many words, but defended her decision to speak out, saying businesses are struggling and Langley City council should “reach out” to them.
“Our small businesses are at high risk right now and badly need support,” Jansen said.
“I hope the council will consider reaching out to these entrepreneurs, as well, to see how they can support them through these tough times,” the MP added.
“While a few have seen increases in their sales or have successfully pivoted their business models, most have been severely impacted and face losing their establishments. Without those small businesses in our neighbourhoods we will lose a tremendous amount of diverse talent. The time to act is now.”