Skip to content

Former Sidney mayor Steve Price retracts comments about Mayor McNeil-Smith

Price claimed falsely McNeil-Smith “has already mentioned that he would like to have me council”
Former Sidney mayor Steve Price has retracted a statement concerning current Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith. (Contributed file photo)

Former Sidney mayor and council candidate Steve Price has issued an apology to Mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith for a statement made during a recent radio interview and asked the broadcaster to remove the portion.

“In conversations, Cliff has already mentioned that he would like to have me on council,” said Price in an interview with Sidney Radio conducted by Peter Wainwright, who currently serves on Sidney council, but is not running again.

Price’s statement came at about 28:00 minute mark of the interview’s podcast version, which Radio Sidney has since edited. The actual interview aired Wednesday afternoon. When asked about the comment the following morning, Price told Black Press Media that he did not hear this comment directly from McNeil-Smith.

“It was a comment that he had made to a friend of mine,” he said. “The friend relayed it to me. I take it he (the friend) had no reason to misrepresent the fact.”

Price did not reveal the identity of the friend.

“Let’s say it’s a friend and the election is on,” said Price.

When asked whether he was saying that McNeil-Smith was endorsing him, Price answered no in his interview with Black Press Media.

“He may like to have all nine of us on council for that matter,” said Price during the interview. “The fact that he said, ‘it would be nice to have me on council’ does not necessarily mean he is endorsing me.”

“It was a compliment that he said that. Everybody likes to be acknowledged. So I thought it was nice to say something like that.”

Several hours later, however, Price acknowledged that McNeil-Smith never said what he — Price — had claimed in the interview.

RELATED: Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre to host multiple municipal election forums

“Apologies for the miscommunication, I had heard that when you found out I was running for council you mentioned in conversation that if elected that I would be someone you could work with to move the (town) forward,” said Price in an email copied to Black Press Media as well as McNeil-Smith and Radio Sidney.

“Which I thought was nice of you. This in no way was an endorsement from you and I stressed that today when contacted by (Black Press Media). And you are correct we have not been corresponding at all in person or by email, other than saying ‘hi’ the other day at the ceremony for Queen.”

That meeting referenced by Price happened Monday morning.

“I take it sometimes what you hear things second- or third-hand from residents the story may change each time, and apparently this is the case here,” Price continued in his email. “So I take it you did not say that about me, so in which case my fault for not phoning you and checking on your comment, I trust you would have straightened things out then.”

McNeil-Smith, who narrowly lost to Price in 2014 as of four candidates, before beating him in by nearly 80 per cent in 2018, had earlier called Price’s statement “false” when asked for comment.

“You and I have not had such a conversation,” said McNeil-Smith in an email copied to Price, Black Press Media and Radio Sidney. “I have not made that statement to another person. You and I have not had any conversation or communication regarding this election. I insist that you contact Radio Sidney to have this corrected, i.e., remove that portion of the recording. Please correct this if it is included in any other aspect of your campaign.”

McNeil-Smith said he has not and would not give any endorsement to any of the nine councillor candidates.

“I believe the voters should base their decisions on their knowledge of the candidates. I look forward to serving our citizens as mayor next term and working well with the (six) that are elected as (councillors).”

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

Wolf Depner

About the Author: Wolf Depner

I joined the national team with Black Press Media in 2023 from the Peninsula News Review, where I had reported on Vancouver Island's Saanich Peninsula since 2019.
Read more