Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Carpenter should resign

So what ? Having a loose cannon on council who is a proven divesive and unprincipled element reduces the effectiveness of council. Carpenter should resign . He has no integrity and that is now a proven fact. We need leaders not children handling our public affairs - PR

Carpenter broke code, so what?

City Coun. James Calnan says he will "carry on and hope for the best" after colleagues declined to punish his wardmate for violations of the code of conduct identified in an integrity commissioners' report.

"From my point of view all I ever asked for was an apology," Calnan said in an interview Monday after council voted to receive a report by commissioner Aida Gatfield.

The London-based lawyer was appointed integrity commissioner to investigate a complaint by Calnan six months ago concerning an alleged pattern of behaviour by Carpenter toward him last year.

In her report, Gatfield found that "on the balance of the probabilities" Carpenter violated sections of the city's municipal Code of Conduct with a series of coments concerning Calnan. The code prohibits "patronizing or condescending behaviour, written or verbal abuse or threats."

She said council could formally reprimand Carpenter or suspend his council pay for up to 90 days, but she made no recommendation.

Councillors chose to do neither. With almost no discussion, they voted to receive the report and release it to the public.

They quickly adjourned the meeting and all, including Carpenter, left the room with only Calnan remaining with reporters.

"In the absence of an apology from my wardmate, I'll just have to carry on and hope for the best," he told reporters.

"It's very clear that I have had had a less than cordial relationship with my wardmate," Calnan p>He noted that he filed his complaint against Carpenter "as a last resort."

Although no action is being taken, "we now have a report that has resulted in a change of behaviour," Calnan added.

Carpenter declined to comment on the report or council's decision.

Gatfield investigated a series of incidents and comments dating back to 1996. At the time, Calnan wasn't on council but he said the incidents displayed a pattern of unprofessional behaviour by Carpenter.

In an interview with Gatfield, Calnan presented news clippings from an incident in 1996 in which it is alleged that Carpenter attacked a fellow councillor. She ruled that incident was so long ago that she considered it staledated.

She also dismissed another incident during the 2003 election campaign involving a dispute over signage between Carpenter, then an incumbent, and Calnan as a candidate.

But Gatfield ruled that more recent incidents in 2008 constituted breaches in sections of the code.

During a Nov. 3 closed-door meeting about how council should deal with challenges from a Six Nations Confederacy organization called the Haudenosaunee Development Institute, Calnan said he advised his colleagues to refrain from engaging in divisive behaviour.

He claimed Carpenter stated: "You are the divisive element on council," and added: "You shouldn't even be on this council."

In his interview, Carpenter denied having called Calnan "divisive," or saying that his wardmate shouldn't be on council.

But Gatfield cited testimony from some other councillors who recalled Carpenter making comments to Calnan about his fitness to sit on council.

Carpenter did agree that he did call Calnan a "backstabber" in the press. That was when Calnan began breaking publicly from council's position on the native land claims dispute, and its policy to have Mayor Mike Hancock serve as the sole spokesman on such issues.

Gatfield wrote that Carpenter agreed his comment was emotional and not respectful.

The report cites testimony from other councilors, who stated that Carpenter treats them in the same manner, making personal attacks.

In her conclusion, Gatfield said Carpenter's comments toward his wardmate were not justified, but found the context in which the comments were made to be a mitigating factor.

"The First nations issue is an emotionally charged matter," she wrote. "Council had unanimously agreed to a course of action, which the complainant subsequently publicly rejected without prior notification to council."

Although council appears to have put the complaint against Carpenter to bed, it is due to consider again in two weeks another report identifying Calnan as an information leak regarding an in-camera discussion about a document important to progress on the native land claims dispute.

In an interview, Calnan noted that his complaint took six months to investigate, while the investigation into the leak began later and took less than half the time.

He said he is still consulting legal counsel on his response.

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