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Legal Corner meeting, a meeting of a sub-committee, and a meeting of any board on which the councillor sits in his official capacity as a councillor. Where a councillor has disclosed a potential conflict of interest, the clerk of the meeting is obliged to record the disclosure, the nature of the interest or liability disclosed; and the withdrawal of the councillor from the meeting. This information is then filed with the clerk of the municipality. Should a councillor fail to follow this process, an interested party may initiate a court removal process. They seem to be very popular these days. Manitoba’s Act says that any councillor who violates any provision of the Act is disqualified from office and the seat becomes vacant as of the time of the court’s declaration. There are no ifs or buts in this legislative language. An infraction results in removal from office. If there is a violation of the Act, then a judge has no choice but to declare the seat vacant. There is a provision that says, among other things, that the interest or liability must be significant, and the value worth more than $500. The simple lesson to be learned is that if there is any doubt or suspicion that a mayor, reeve, or councillor is in a conflict position, the issue must be considered carefully and seriously. Consultations with legal counsel, or others with expertise, is recommended. If time does not allow for sufficient consideration and consultation, the safest course might be to declare the interest or liability and refrain from voting. Even if a conflict of interest removal application is not successful, the attendant publicity, legal fees, and time taken away from valuable and important municipal work is not worth it. Further, the consequences of a successful conflict of interest removal application are punitive. Upcoming Events October 11 Education Session – Portage la Prairie AMM November 25 AMM Education Session – Brandon 25-28 AMM 15th Annual Convention – Brandon Canada-Manitoba Infrastructure Secretariat Supporting infrastructure investments in Manitoba Secrétariat d’Infrastructures Canada-Manitoba Soutenir les investissements d’infrastructures au Manitoba (204) 945-4074 or | ou 1-800-268-4883 J AMES D UBE ´ S PRAGGS ADJUSTERS LTD. About the Author: Bernice Bowley is a partner with Fillmore Riley LLP. Her practice is focused on general commercial insurance litigation, municipal law and employment law. She has appeared before all levels of court in Manitoba, as well as various administrative tribunals including the Manitoba Labour Relations Board, the Automobile Injury Compensation Appeal Commission and the Pension Appeals Commission. Click here to return to Table of Contents Municipal Leader | Fall 2013 63