Vancouver park board's Constance Barnes charged with drunk driving

Vancouver park board commissioner Constance Barnes issued the following statement today (June 10):

I have made a serious mistake. On May 23, 2009 I was charged with driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

I was returning home from an afternoon at Iona Beach in Richmond and was arrested and charged by the Vancouver Police Department around 11pm. I do not intend to challenge this charge. The police arrested me outside of a home in South Vancouver where I had fallen asleep at the wheel and hit a residential home. No-one was injured in this incident, however there was damage to the property.

I take full responsibility for my actions and acknowledge my lack of judgment.

This incident follows a time of deep personal struggle, for which I am now receiving support. I have enrolled in Alcoholics Anonymous and I am seeking out other professional support to assist me through this time.

I would like to apologize to my family, friends, colleagues and to the citizens of Vancouver for this serious mistake. I am ashamed by my actions and the embarrassment it has caused my family and friends.

I will be taking time over the coming months to tackle my personal challenges.

In order to learn from my mistakes and to restore public confidence, I will be taking a leave from my job and a medical leave from my position as a Vancouver Park Board Commissioner.

I will make myself available to the media on June 10th at 1:15 PM at the SFU Harbour Centre in Room 1520, Barrick Gold Lecture Room.


We're now using Facebook for comments.


Norman Farrell

Jun 10, 2009 at 12:09pm

At least she has the honor and good sense to accept responsibility in a public way. The first and most vital step to recovery.

Too bad the brass at the RCMP don't have the same courage. They demonstrate the opposite quality at every step of the Dziekanski situation.


Jun 10, 2009 at 12:52pm

Oh, please don't make yourself available to media, Constance. What purpose does this serve? You have an illness and you are taking steps to get better. That's all anyone needs to know. Take care of yourself.

Michael Castanaveras

Jun 10, 2009 at 1:40pm

"In order to learn from my mistakes and to restore public confidence, I will be taking a leave from my job and a medical leave from my position..."

This is the right thing to do. If only Gordon Campbell had done the same thing. If a leave wasn't feasible due to the nature of the position then resignation is appropriate.


Jun 10, 2009 at 1:48pm

It wont cost her anything. The Department of Justice decides what the RCMP admit or dont. Do not be fooled.

Norman Farrell

Jun 10, 2009 at 4:35pm

I take back my comments. I just heard her on CBC Radio blaming "a couple of ciders in the sun."

Sure, just two ciders, then drive your car into a house and go to sleep.

I care, but

Jun 11, 2009 at 10:55am

Where is the apology to the home owner who lives with the trauma of the vehicle coming through the front door?
Isn't putting the cart before the horse to skip her father's disappointment and skip to "he would be proud of me coming forward"? like she has a choice.
Thankfully he is NOT a part of this as she would would have us believe.

When she gives him a rest and takes responsibility for her first accident which cost him the ability to buy his grandchildren gifts, and not have choice of whether he could retire or not, maybe then, something will have sunken in. Other than this, her children should be left out of people's comments. They are to be complimented for being survivor's.

Carbon Footprince

Jun 11, 2009 at 4:13pm

Given Parking Meter Gate (this week), the summer road closures (last week) and the Burrard Street Bridge crapola (two weeks ago) I'm only surprised that she drove a car into somebody's house, and not a bicycle or 'public transit'. That would have been much more politically correct. A final question: can we use her parking space while she's on (paid?) leave?

not a good enough excuse....

Jun 12, 2009 at 12:49am

Wow...what kind of example does Ms. Barnes set for youth, who use most of the facilities, that she as a Park Board Commissioner decides the fate of?

Now....instead of spending more money on programs for youth, to prevent this kind of unforunate circumstance, We (the taxpayers) are paying her salary, while she takes a paid leave to enroll in 12 step program that only benefits herself.

Obviously from what has been reported, this isnt the first time she has driven recklessly. First Stevenson's DUI, now her. What's next, a school board member will do the same... and it will be 3 for 3 for Vision Vancover.

not nearly far enough

Jun 12, 2009 at 8:36pm

I like most of her statement, her ownership of the mistake, but the commenter is right - she should have made a public apology to the people whose house she drove into. And crisis communications advises transparency up front - she should have included if people were at home at the time, and if she terrified them, she should demonstrate that she recognizes the effect of that.
I'm disappointed that she is claiming medical leave as Park Board Commissioner. She won't be doing the tasks of her position, yet will be paid for doing them. Ethically, she should recognize that this condition is not one that taxpayers should pay for.


Jun 12, 2009 at 11:35pm

I guess the votes are in. The majority have spoken.