Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in White Rock Nov. 15. (File photo)

PMO, Liberals refuse to release mayor’s letter

White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin sent letter after city not officially notified of Trudeau’s visit

The prime minister’s office and Liberal Party of Canada will not release the letter White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin sent to them after he publicly condemned both organizations for not notifying council of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit Nov. 15.

During a Nov. 20 council meeting, the mayor said the lack of notification of Trudeau’s tour of the Five Corners neighbourhood was “extremely disappointing, disrespectful and a total breach of protocol.” He said that he would be writing a letter to the local Liberal riding and the prime minister’s office.

“When a sitting prime minister visits a city, it is only reasonable to expect that the welcome to the city would come from the mayor and council, not from the former mayor and a nearby First Nations chief,” Baldwin said at the meeting.

Eleanore Catenaro, press secretary with the PMO, confirmed to PAN last Thursday that the mayor’s letter was received, but she said it would not be made public.

“As you know, the prime minister’s brief visit to White Rock was in his capacity as leader of the Liberal Party, and so I would refer you to Braden Caley (Liberal Party of Canada director of communications) for further questions,” Eleanore Catenaro emailed to PAN.

Caley told PAN the next day that the Liberal party does not provide copies of correspondence received from Canadians without their permission, and “it would be best for you to reach out to Mayor Wayne Baldwin if you are following up on statements he has made.”

Contacted last week, Baldwin told PAN he would release the letter, and that he asked City of White Rock communications manager Farnaz Farrokhi to email it.

Farrokhi told PAN Friday that she would send a copy of the letter the following Monday morning.

On Monday, Farraokhi emailed city manager of freedom of information Ken Overton, and copied PAN, writing that there “are protocols to follow for such requests,” and asked Overton to “expedite an FOI request” for the letter.

PAN had filed an FOI request with the City of White Rock Nov. 30, prior to contacting the prime minister’s office.

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