The Facebook global outage on Monday left many without access to our Facebook Live simulcast of Monday’s Council and Committee of the Whole meetings. While we did manage to get on-air in time… in case you missed it, you probably missed one of the most heated meetings to date.
By far the “main event” was the the Integrity Commissioner reports, as we previously detailed in our previous post. More specifically report IC-13251-0321 which found Councillor Vaine violated the Code of Conduct by harassing and making disparaging remarks about Councillor Bothwell, brought the proceedings to a boil.
For the entirety of the meeting, Councillor Vaine was not on-screen and cited camera trouble with his device, as he did in a previous meeting. Although to the astute viewer, his camera appeared to be working as there was clear images bleeding through his Zoom background. As a side note, the Town’s IT department is available to assist with his Town-owned device should Councillor Vaine wish to have have it repaired or exchanged.
While Councillor Bothwell explained her rationale for filing the complaint and how other comments such as referring to members of the Heritage Committee as “soccer moms” were made by “another Councillor”, Councillor Vaine interjected with a Point of Order and accused Bothwell of “lying”. At this point the meeting decorum went downhill… Olympic style.
The events almost defy description, so for your review here is the first in a series of clips that shows how things went down:
Note the look on Councillor Vardy’s face when Councillor Vaine tells Councillor Freake to “shut up” (mispronouncing his name as “freak”). Insult is added to injury when Councillor Vaine further proclaims “you’re an idiot!”. This was clear grounds of misconduct and the Mayor exercised his Municipal Act power to expel Vaine from the meeting.
As Councillor Bothwell continued with her explanation, the expulsion appeared not to sit well with Councillors Sharpe and Ritchie, with the latter stating that the Mayor “did not have that right unless it’s a serious threat and this is a Zoom meeting”.
While Councillor Ritchie may be correct in that it was a Zoom meeting, he was completely incorrect on the Mayor’s rights. He further stated that “yes, it has to be a direct threat Mayor Jordan…. look it up”. So let’s look it up!
Excerpt of the Municipal Act Section 241(2):
No mention of “direct threat” in the Municipal Act, only “misconduct”. What about the Town’s Procedural By-law?
Excerpt of Section 3.1:
Excerpt of Section 5.3:
Excerpt of Section 8.5:
Not there either! Although he asked the Mayor to “look it up”… the “threat” requirement claimed by Councillor Ritchie appears nowhere in the Municipal Act or the Town’s Procedural By-law, which both govern Town meetings.
Of additional note, there is a section in the Town rules more specifically dealing with expelling someone, but if there is conflict with the Municipal Act, that rule is void.
In short, the Mayor has the absolute right to expel anyone from a meeting simply on the basis of “misconduct”. Members of Council can appeal the expulsion, but the expelled person cannot technically vote as they are no longer in the meeting and it could also represent a conflict of interest.
But even before the 4-4 vote (tie equals a defeat) that would allow him to remain in the meeting could be conducted, Councillor Vaine began making accusations and other comments against the Mayor and Members of Council:
Further in the matter, Councillor Vardy presented a motion that accepted the Integrity Commissioner’s recommendation of a “reprimand” against Councillor Vaine. The motion further requested that Councillor Vaine apologize to Councillor Bothwell and retake the harassment training previously provided to Council.
After further discussion, the motion was split, separating the apology request from the body of the motion and the two parts were voted on separately. The first part of the motion imposing a reprimand and re-taking of the training passed unanimously.
However the request for Councillor Vaine to apologize to Councillor Bothwell was defeated 4-4 (tie vote equals defeat) with Councillors Kadwell, Ritchie, Sharpe and Vaine voting against it.
Note: Councillor Dunstall was not present for this meeting.