Accusations against former Quesnel Mayor Steve Wallace have spilled from his now-home in Victoria back to his time working in municipal government.
Wallace, who owns and operates a driving school, has been accused by his students of inappropriate comments and touching during lessons. The accusations have been documented on an Instagram page @wallacedrivingschoolvictims. The account was created by 18-year-old Aiko Oye, who has received dozens of messages with similar accounts.
Some accounts date back to the time Wallace was in office in Quesnel.
Victoria police are investigating, but as of Monday, Oct. 4, no charges have been laid.
One of the women from Quesnel who has stepped forward to share their experiences is Stephanie Boyko. A TikTok video she made has also received comments sharing stories of harassment. Boyko even recalls a chance encounter over the phone, where the person answering at a local business simply replied “me too” after saying hello.
“It rang true what that hashtag ‘me too,’ was all about. Because that’s all everyone keeps saying to me,” she said.
Wallace was the mayor of Quesnel from late 1990 until 2002.
“He impacted so many people in Quesnel,” Boyko said. “I remember a lot of us younger people we weren’t eligible to vote or anything like that, and when he became mayor, we went ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”
He also served as an alderman before being elected as mayor.
Rae Perry helped run the Miss Quesnel Leadership Program during most of Wallace’s time as mayor. The program is now run as the Quesnel Ambassador program. In a 1992 Quesnel Observer article, Perry was credited as one of the driving forces who turned the Miss Quesnel program away from a beauty pageant, and more towards community involvement.
Perry says she was approached by a candidate’s mother about inappropriate comments and behaviour by Wallace.
“After I was made aware, I was on alert,” she said. “I made sure, if we were at a function the mayor was also attending that I stayed in close proximity or kept eyes on the girls. If I saw that he was approaching them, I made sure I was there.”
Perry recalled sending a letter to Wallace demanding an explanation.
Perry said she wishes she had done more, and praised Oye’s work for bringing accusations to the surface, recalling seeing a commercial for Wallace’s driving school and feeling nauseous years later.
“I’m glad this has come to light,” Perry said while fighting back tears. “I’ve been meaning to send a message to that girl, and tell her thank you and how brave she is. Because I guess I didn’t realize how widespread this was.”
Boyko also reached out to Oye, who also shared her story on the Instagram page.
“I want other women to know you’re not crazy, you’re not overreacting, this is real,” Boyko said. “You’re not overthinking it. This is real, and I want you to know I stand behind you.”
The background music to Boyko’s video was a song called Dirty Laundry.
“The common denominator from everybody is ‘finally,’” Boyko said.
Current city of Quesnel manager Byron Johnson said there would be no investigation into Wallace’s behaviour as mayor, noting it would be a police matter. Superintendent Sue-Ellen Miller said the Quesnel School District, where Wallace worked before becoming mayor, only keeps records for 21 years.
Steve Wallace has not responded to requests for interviews from Black Press outlets in Quesnel and Victoria.
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