Moncton councilor must apologize and undergo training after derogatory comments

A Moncton councilor has been ordered to issue a written apology and take a course in people skills after an investigation found he breached the city council’s code of conduct.

Moncton councilors voted on the Coun shares. Daniel Bourgeois must take during a meeting on Monday.

At issue were Bourgeois’ comments at two of the city’s Democracy Building Committee meetings in October, followed by an email he sent to the mayor and council on Oct. 21.

In the email, he called volunteer committee member Carole Chan stupid and attributed things to her that she didn’t say at committee meetings or that were misinterpreted.

He alleged that she said she was only appointed to the committee to ensure women and visible minorities were elected to the council.

The mayor cleared

The content of the email was reported by CBC News last month. A Code of Conduct investigation by an Integrity Commissioner took place into both his conduct and the conduct of Mayor Dawn Arnold.

Arnold forwarded Bourgeois’ email, in which he resigned from the committee, to committee chairman Frank Vandenburg. The investigation found that Arnold did not breach the code by sharing the email.

The investigation revealed that Bourgeois had violated the code.

The Code of Conduct states that counselors should treat each person with dignity, understanding and respect to ensure the work environment is free from discrimination, bullying and harassment.

Alleged violations may trigger an investigation. Sanctions the council can impose include a letter of reprimand, demanding a public apology, removal from committees, reduction or suspension of wages, and restrictions on access to city facilities or documents.

Council removal is not an option that councilors can impose.

Councilors discussed the findings of the investigation in a closed meeting on December 13 and approved the sanctions in a vote on Monday without debate.

Bourgeois left the council chamber before the vote. He said nothing about the investigation or the sanctions on Monday.

He previously issued a verbal apology at a November 15 council meeting before the investigation was completed.

Chan had previously said she hoped speaking publicly about what happened would raise the bar for expected behavior from officials.

Frank Vandenburg, chair of the Moncton Democracy Improvement Committee, said he was concerned about the counsellor’s behavior. (Shane Magee/CBC)

In a joint statement Monday, committee chairs Frank Vandenburg and Chan said they offered three recommendations to the investigator for possible sanctions.

This included moving beyond a public apology and offering public acknowledgment of the impact the behavior can have on volunteer citizens, especially those from non-majority communities.

Another recommendation related to corrective measures related to the challenges faced by non-majority citizens and the obstacles and risks they face. Finally, they recommended continued measures to ensure the safety of future volunteers so that they do not have similar experiences.

“After reviewing the approved recommendations, [we] look forward to meeting with council to ensure these actions create real change that improves democracy and citizen engagement in Moncton,” Chan and Vandenburg said in the statement Monday.

This was the second code of conduct investigation into the behavior of a Moncton city councilor this year.

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