Hey Councillor Shawn Menard, be afraid, be very afraid.
On Wednesday, you and your colleagues decided to punish a fellow councillor without any sort of due process.
Even a killer, found with a smoking gun in his hand standing over his dead victim, gets a fair trial.
But College Coun. Rick Chiarelli has received none of that.
And let’s face it Coun. Menard, it would seem Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson dislikes you only marginally less than he despises Chiarelli.
You could be next. And when the mob mentality sets it, with Watson in charge, there might not be anything you can do about it. So remember how quickly you joined the mob.
In case you missed it, council unanimously rejected giving Chiarelli time off from council, though he had a doctor’s note saying he needed the time off.
This has never happened before. Ever.
Do I believe the dozen plus women who’ve come forward with allegations of inappropriateness of Chiarelli’s alleged actions, sexual or otherwise?
Absolutely. There is no doubt in mind. Like other journalists in the city, I’ve spoken with some of these women, I know them, I like them – and I not just believe in them, but I never doubted them.
If you haven’t paid any attention, Chiarelli has been accused of making inappropriate sexual references towards many of his young female employees, everything from suggesting what they should wear, to late night stops together in the city or outside of it.
It’s gross, not a terribly sophisticated word, but it’s appropriate. And it breaks my heart to think of these very young women feeling they had to deal with grossness because they needed a job.
But if council can censor a colleague who hasn’t been found to be guilty of untying, what’s to stop Watson and his gang of targeting other councillors they don’t like?
So where does city council get off refusing a doctor’s note, which should have excused Chiarelli from attending council for at least three months.
This has never happened before. Never. Ever.
And frankly, I don’t believe for a minute that if Chiarelli was in Watson’s inner circle before this news came out, this just wouldn’t be happening now.
No way, no how. Watson protects his friends. What can you remember about Watson criticizing his buddy Tim Tierney, after Tierney alluded to a food bank donation as an apparent hope his opponent might reconsider running? Doesn’t take too long thinking about that, does it? Osgoode Coun. George Darouze was found guilty of breaching council’s code of conduct. Not only didn’t Watson utter a word, but Darouze is still one of Watson’s deputy mayors.
What does that mean to Chiarelli? Well, before he’s been off for three months in a row, if he wants to keep his job, he’ll have to show up at some point, make an appearance during roll call. Watson knows this experience will be humiliating, and the media will be chasing him for a comment. It doesn’t bother me that Chiarelli might be embarrassed. But it won’t take away Chiarelli’s pay cheque and it won’t change a thing – accept humiliate the College councillor. Is that Watson doing a happy dance?
Former Bay councillor Alex Cullen is the only politician that I know of to call council out.And if your municipal memory isn’t as long as mine, Cullen and Chiarelli are not friends. And they don’t like each other. In fact, Cullen believes that years ago, Chiarelli stabbed him in his political back. So don’t think for a moment that Cullen is just backing up a friend. In fact, Cullen is too principled to back up anyone he didn’t agree with.
“It’s politics pilling over good judgment. In any other employment situation, a doctor’s note would be sufficient to get you any leave doctor recommends. This is a health professional saying someone can’t do their job. That should have been valid enough. Unfortunately, there are politics at play here. And that’s spoiled over to making a judgment on this very valid request. There was no debate and that really bugs me.There was no discussion on why this should be, (council’s) decision over that of a health professional. I suspect what happened is that there was a herd mentality,” Cullen said to On the City, From the Burbs.”This has been very badly handled, ” Cullen added. “And someone has to call out council. If it could happen to one person, it could happen to anyone.”
“It’s the political piling on, Jim has continued to twist the knife. He’s entitled to his opinion, but we know his motives. There’s been no debate, no justification, yet we do have due process.You can’t skip steps. No law has been broke,” Cullen rightly pointed out.”Politics is a blood sort and the herd will turn on someone who’s weak.”
Yes, politics at Ottawa City Hall, it’s ugly