A record by Centre Wellington’s integrity commissioner that discovered a councillor with anti-lockdown views did no longer breach council’s code of conduct will cost the township as a minimum $21,000.
At Monday’s council meeting, as a minimum 1 councillor defended the resolution to demand for the record, calling it “money correctly spent,” while others advised it a waste of taxpayer bucks.
Township clerk Kerri O’Kane informed council she had received invoices in the quantity of $21,104 to this point for the record, nonetheless she “fully demand(s) a form of invoices to reach wait on in.”
Council asked the integrity commissioner to begin an investigation into VanLeeuwen’s conduct at a February meeting the achieve councillors additionally voted to eradicate him as deputy mayor. VanLeeuwen had founded the Discontinuance the Lockdowns National Caucus, alongside with four a form of Canadian politicians, earlier that month.
While it turned into as soon as Mayor Kelly Linton who made the preliminary bolt to maintain VanLeeuwen eradicated as deputy mayor — which is an appointed, no longer elected achieve of residing — Linton, alongside with councillors Neil Dunsmore and Ian MacRae adversarial the premise of asking for an integrity commissioner record on his conduct.
Meanwhile councillors Bob Foster, Stephen Kitras and Kirk McElwain wished an investigation.
On Monday, Linton stated council had decided “to exercise $21,000 for the integrity commissioner to basically impart us months later in a record, what I informed council he turned into as soon as going to articulate anyway.”
Linton stated the commissioner had informed him from the outset, the resolution to eradicate VanLeeuwen as deputy mayor turned into as soon as a political one which council had the precise to fabricate and he would no longer touch upon. The commissioner additionally made it decided in outdated reviews “he’s no longer going to police freedom of expression and political talk,” stated Linton.
“We need to always aloof maintain discovered our lesson after the foremost time we went to the integrity commissioner how he interprets his unbiased,“ Linton stated. ”And all over again he’s made it very very decided, unfortunately it turned into as soon as at the cost of the taxpayer in this case.”
Dunsmore addressed his feedback toward Coun. Bob Foster, who made the bolt to maintain VanLeeuwen investigated alongside with taking away him as deputy mayor.
“Constantly when we (as council) mosey to exercise money, you’ve received something to articulate,” Dunsmore stated. “Successfully here you mosey, there’s $21,000 you spent needlessly.”
Foster spoke back he had asked for the integrity commissioners record, which took seven months to destroy, ensuing from he did no longer want VanLeeuwen to be eradicated as deputy mayor “till he had the coolest thing a pair of excellent trial.”
“Justice and fairness, Neil, cost money continuously,” Foster stated. “That turned into as soon as money correctly spent and Steve’s now been exonerated.”
Foster made a bolt “to precise a inappropriate,” calling for VanLeeuwen to be reinstated as deputy mayor. As a consequence of the appointment of a deputy mayor requires the consent of the mayor, Linton ruled it out of describe.
Coun. Stephen Kitras additionally wished VanLeeuwen reinstated, asserting he had been a victim of “mob hysteria” and “political opportunism.”
“Here is the 2d time in this term councillors maintain sought to punish unjustly a councillor in minority for the freedom of speech and idea on a topic,” stated Kitras, who turned into as soon as the sphere of an integrity commissioner investigation launched by Linton in 2019.
Kitras additionally tried to fabricate a bolt that “particular participants that wrongly accused VanLeeuwen ask for forgiveness to him at this meeting.” That bolt turned into as soon as no longer heard.
Meanwhile the sphere of the investigation, VanLeeuwen, stated he turned into as soon as grateful to maintain the record, even when he had no longer asked for it.
“It clearly reveals that I had performed myself correctly and with integrity,” he stated.
VanLeeuwen inspired the public to learn the record, in particular its diagnosis of his social media posts.
“You might perchance perchance well well learn about what you’re no longer seeing in the mainstream media,” he stated. “And I dangle that’s very, foremost.”
VanLeeuwen stated he “would cherish to proceed to behave as deputy mayor,” nonetheless he couldn’t destroy that if the achieve of residing held him wait on from walking with integrity or speaking the reality.