Vancouver police sergeant's tweet about Mayor Kennedy Stewart draws plaudits and denunciation

Traffic cop Mark Christensen has told the world that he doesn't feel supported

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Several Vancouver police officers have Twitter accounts, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

      But it's unusual for a uniformed officer who self-identifies as a member of the VPD to slam Mayor Kennedy Stewart on their feed.

      That's why a recent tweet by Sgt. Mark Christensen has generated plenty of chatter on social media.

      Christensen, a traffic cop, declared: "34 years ago today, I was sworn in as a regular member of the VPD! It has been an incredible career but I must admit the past couple of years have been difficult...Mayor Stewart, and his lack of support, doesn't make it easier! Counting the days until I retire!"

      Stewart chairs the Vancouver police board, which employs Vancouver police and pays their salaries.

      Several people replied by thanking Christensen for his service.

      That included one woman who wrote: "Yep. Hubby is only 15 years in and I haven't witnessed a more harmful mayor yet (and I thought the last one was bad!)".

      Others, however, were blunt in their criticism including a woman who wrote: "Dude the police get 21% of the total city budget. That's called support with a capital S. Stop playing the victim."

      Another showed a photo of the parents of Sechelt landscaper Myles Gray, who died at the hands of unidentified Vancouver police officers in 2015.

      No reasons given for comment

      Christensen didn't elaborate on why he didn't feel supported by the mayor. City council, with Stewart's backing, froze the VPD's budget this year at $340.9 million.

      The VPD sought an annual budget of $346.6 million. The police board subsequently appealed council's decision to the unelected provincial director of police services.

      In 2020, the Vancouver police board refused to cut the VPD's budget. This occurred even as 1,800 city staff were laid off in the pandemic year.

      Notably, Stewart has insisted that there's systemic racism within the VPD and other departments.

      Chief Adam Palmer, on the other hand, told the Vancouver Sun that it's "offensive" to claim that the VPD is systemically racist.

      Stewart's comment prompted a complaint to the police board from Sgt. Blair Canning, a former policing partner of Chief Adam Palmer.

      Staff sergeant vetted NPA nominations

      Prior to the 2018 election, a Vancouver police officer, Staff Sgt. Terry Yung, was on the NPA board when it chose its slate of candidates for council, school board, and park board.

      That same year, Vision Vancouver, the Coalition of Progressive Electors, the Vancouver Greens, and OneCity—in sharp contrast to the NPA—all had competitive, public nomination meetings for council. These parties' members, not the board, selected candidates.

      Staff Sgt. Yung was also on the NPA board when it vetted prospective mayoral candidates and oversaw a nomination meeting.

      That resulted in businessman Ken Sim running against Stewart. Sim lost by fewer than 1,000 votes.

      The board nixed two of the five NPA applicants.

      In 2018, the VPD did not provide a spokesperson when the Straight asked for someone to comment about an active police officer sitting on the board of a political party that vets nominees for council, which votes on the VPD's budget.