A community councillor representing P.E.I.'s Rural Municipality of North Shore has resigned, two months after he was convicted of criminal harassment.
The timing of Robbie Moore's resignation has some people in the community questioning whether he should have stepped down sooner, given the rules laid out in P.E.I.'s Municipal Government Act.
The act states that "a council member is disqualified from serving on council if convicted of an indictable offence" and that "a council member who is disqualified shall resign immediately."
In Canada, indictable offences are more serious than summary conviction cases, and the person accused of one is arrested and must appear in court to answer the charge.
Moore was convicted in late November of criminally harassing three people over the course of 20 months.
After the conviction, he continued serving on council for several weeks. That prompted an anonymous email to the municipality and the media in mid-January, claiming to be from a group of concerned community members.
The concern is not only for the well-being of our community but also for the potential risk of having a councillor with a history of criminal behaviour. — Email said to be from a group of citizens
"This situation has raised serious concerns within the community, as this criminal conviction conflicts with the municipality's rules stipulating that individuals convicted of a crime cannot remain on the council," the email read.
"The concern is not only for the well-being of our community but also for the potential risk of having a councillor with a history of criminal behaviour. People are hesitant to voice their concerns openly due to fears of potential retaliation."
Two weeks ago, Moore was sentenced to three months in jail — to be served on weekends — and three years' probation.
Moore declines to comment
CBC News contacted Moore last week to ask about the apparent concerns in the community, as suggested by the anonymous email. He responded by saying he'd just submitted his letter of resignation, and declined to comment further.
An electoral map shows the Rural Municipality of North Shore, which includes West Covehead, Covehead Road, Stanhope, Pleasant Grove and Grand Tracadie. (Government of P.E.I.)
No one from the North Shore municipality would agree to an interview either. Nor would anyone say whether Moore was told to resign after his conviction.
In an email, chief administrative officer Sarah Wheatley wrote: "A municipality must consider the full contents of 'Division 5–Disqualification' in the Municipal Government Act, along with specific advice from their lawyer, when making decisions of this nature."
A P.E.I. government spokesperson said Monday that the province is aware of the situation involving Moore, and "does not believe the Municipal Government Act has been violated."
"The MGA outlines the duties of councillors and council, but does not provide a timeline of what is 'immediate'," the spokesperson said in an email. "This is an unfortunate situation for the municipality but it is a municipal matter."
The municipality now has six months to arrange a byelection to fill Moore's seat on council.
The Rural Municipality of North Shore consists of the communities of West Covehead, Covehead Road, Stanhope, Pleasant Grove and Grand Tracadie.