Council rejects MacDonald investigation

Nick Seebruch
Council rejects MacDonald investigation

CORNWALL, Ontario – Council rejected a motion on Monday, June 11, 2018 that an Integrity Commissioner be hired to investigate the behaviour of Councillor Mark MacDonald.

In late April, Councillor Claude McIntosh asked that Councillor MacDonald’s behavior be investigated after he sent emails to council members, including himself, in which he called McIntosh a “possible liar”.

MacDonald made the comments in the context of the City budget deliberations that were ongoing at the time. MacDonald, McIntosh, and others had signed a pledge at the last municipal election to not raise taxes, something that McIntosh now says does not live up to the realities of governance.

McIntosh asked that MacDonald’s behaviour be reviewed by the Provincial Ombudsman, the Ombudsman however, does not investigate such matters, so the City could have to hire an Integrity Commissioner.

“We have a Code of Conduct, but we don’t have any way of enforcing the Code of Conduct,” said McIntosh. “If I had been offered an apology, I would have declined it. If we can do that in an email, then I could stand here and tell Councillor Murphy what I thought of him and get away with it,” McIntosh went on to say.

“First of all, I would like to apologise if I hurt anybody’s feelings,” replied MacDonald.

MacDonald said he read the Code of Conduct and looked for how he might have violated it.

“If I did violate something, then show me exactly where because I couldn’t find that I did,” he said. “I was told by Councillor Clement to choose my words carefully and I did. I think it is a colossal, colossal waste of time and money.”

City Clerk Manon Levesque referred Councillor MacDonald to Section 17.5 of the Code of Conduct which outlines the professional language that a Councillor was expected to use in their communications.

“I think we are expected to live up to a certain standard here,” said Councillor Elaine MacDonald. “There is no place for ad hominem comments. I think when you use terms like that, you violate a civil code that supersedes our own simple code of conduct. We aren’t talking about the sensitivity of an individual, we are talking about the right or wrongness of an action.”

A recorded vote saw the motion to hire an Integrity Commissioner fail with five votes in favour, four against and one abstention.

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