Skip to content

Quesnel mayor files petition in court over censure, sanctions

Ron Paull has asked BC Supreme Court to remove his censure, restore his committees
Mayor Ron Paull’s controversial saga began in March after his wife is alleged to have distributed a book denying the horrors of residential schools (Frank Peebles/Quesnel Cariboo Observer)

Mayor Ron Paull filed for a judicial review this week in B.C. Supreme Court to have his censure and sanctions put in place by fellow councillors revoked.

Paull is asking the court to reinstate him to all boards and committees as well as return his travel and lobbying budgets which were revoked at the April 30th council meeting. The sanctions against Paull were put in place after a unanimous vote by Quesnel city council following the accusation that Paull and his wife, Pat Morton, distributed a book downplaying the horrors of residential schools across Canada.

Paull told the Observer he could not comment on the ongoing court proceedings, however, Black Press obtained a copy of the court filing.

“Council ambushed (Paull) at the 02 April 2024 council meeting. Council orchestrated a public hearing into allegations about him and his wife surrounding the book without (Paull),” says an excerpt of the court petition filed. It goes on to say that the allegations made by council are against Morton and denies that Paull’s actions were reasonable grounds for censure.

Paull said he has never read the book and that he showed it to colleagues at the CRD during a debate about SOGI.

“A director raised concerns about books about sexual orientation and gender identity being available to children and youth in our local libraries. At our CRD board meeting the next day I brought my wife’s copy of Grave Error and after the meeting, I showed it to two of my colleagues and wondered what the CRD library would do with it,” Paull said at the April 24 meeting.

“I feel disappointed and somehow sad that removal of me from duties I that was elected to do is really unfair to my council colleagues,” Paull said at the May 21st council meeting before recusing himself from the discussion about his removal from committees.

The Lhtako Dene, Nazko and Lhoosk’uz Dené First Nations have announced they will not work with Paull moving forward. The Lhtako Dene Nation also banned Paull from their lands.

“We need surety from council that the mayor will not engage in or play any role in any of our collaborative projects with the City. We sincerely hope that council will take steps to ensure the mayor does not continue to undermine the reputation of the City of Quesnel, and give us the guarantee we need to continue to work with council on the many projects we are working on together,” said part of a letter sent from the three Nations to Quesnel City Council.

One of the requirements included in Paull’s censure was that he provide a “sincere” apology. Paull has not apologized to the First Nations.

READ MORE: Quesnel censures mayor in wake of residential school book controversy

READ MORE: Lhtako Dene leaders formally end relationship with Quesnel mayor

Paull was removed from committees including the CRD and Northern Development Initiative Trust. Coun. Roodenburg will take his place at the CRD and Coun. Elliot will take his place at the Northern Development Initiative Trust.

Roodenburg, who is council’s Indigenous Relations Liaison, said she is arranging for council to meet with the Lhtako Dene Nation to discuss council’s next steps regarding the mayor.

The 90-day censure by city council is set to end on July 29th unless council passes another censorship motion.