Victoria City Councillor Ben Isitt has submitted his resignation as Vice Chair of the CRD First Nations Relations Committee.
News broke exclusively to CFAX 1070 on Wednesday, July 14th.
The move comes in light of a viral video that has been circulating online from June 10th, showing Isitt offering money to a tow truck driver to leave.
The tow truck driver was contracted by The Teal-Jones Group to remove vehicles at a site where blockades against the logging of the Fairy Creek watershed have been ongoing.
It’s unclear if this prompted the resignation, but Pacheedaht Chief Council, Jeff Jones said he “strongly objected” to the behaviour.
“It has recently come to our attention that Councillor Ben Isitt, a CRD Board member, has been actively supporting and involved in exactly the type of disrespectful behaviour that PFN (Pacheedaht First Nation) has strongly objected to,” wrote Chief Jeff Jones in a letter to the CRD on July 8th.
“We take the view that this is deplorably unacceptable behaviour for an elected official who is in a position of power and influence, and is capable by vote or behaviour of imposing negative impacts on our nation,” he said.
Since May, the Pacheedaht First Nation has asked protestors in the Fairy Creek area to leave its traditional lands and for the CRD to respect their wishes.
On May 10th, The Pacheedaht First Nation sent a notice to the CRD board, asking that they “show an appropriate level of respect to the sovereignty and wishes of our nation.”
On June 20th, the Nation once again asked the CRD to respect its authority after several Island First Nations’ and the BC government put forth a two-year deferral on old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek watershed and central Walbran valley areas.
Protests still remain as arrests grow and tensions get higher.
A petition has also garnered over 3,500 hundred signatures calling on the suspension of Isitt for “interfering with the Community Charter of British Columbia.”
“Mr. Isitt continuously puts forward motions at Victoria City Council that interfere with the peace and good governance of the City of Victoria,” read the petition.
“Mr. Isitt has also drawn and helped pass motions over the Cruise ship industry and The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority of which the City of Victoria does not have the jurisdiction.”
Isitt has served the public as a City Councillor and Regional Director since 2011 and will remain a director on the committee.