Municipal councillor Brett Smyth of North Saanich, British Columbia resigned last week after referring to the town’s mayor as “Mr. Hitler” during a public council meeting.
CTV News obtained a copy of Smyth’s letter of resignation explaining his decision.
“It has not been an easy decision, but one made necessary, but not specifically, in light of my off‐handed comment at a recent council meeting,” Smyth wrote.
The ordeal went down on Mar. 20 when Smyth argued with the mayor, Pete Jones. Their argument stemmed from a disagreement over the handling of the town’s community plan.
Councillor Phil DiBattista asked Jones if they would publish the resumes of the committee members.
“That is not going to happen,” Jones said. He added that the members “are extremely well known” to people in the community thanks to their previous work on city matters.
Smyth then argued that Jones’ decision was made in a “very political way.” Jones rebuked Smyth’s theory shortly after.
Smyth then replied, “Thank You, Mr. Hitler.”
In his letter of resignation, Smyth wrote that he “would have preferred a more positive environment at the municipal hall but when all voices are not respected, then it is difficult to practise the patience required of an elected official.”
CTV News got a hold of Smyth after the incident went public.
“I’m a pretty good guy,” he said. “If I’m saying something like that, there’s a reason for it. It’s not that I’m unbalanced.”
Jones then became in contact with CTV News and told them that he “didn’t expect that [Smyth] would step down.”
“My view is I still wish he had not,” Jones explained. “His comments are fair in the sense that there has been some dissension in council but that’s typical. He’s done a lot of work for the residents of North Saanich and I would have liked him to complete his term because he has a lot to offer.”
Smyth had previously been elected to the council in 2018 and again in 2022. The district said they will hold a byelection to fill the now vacant spot on the council.
The Vancouver Island town of North Saanich was also in the news a few years back when Harry and Meghan Markle temporarily took up residence in a mansion there.