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Barrie-Innisfil MP drops lawsuit against councillor

'While it is my wish that Coun. Aylwin would apologize, I am satisfied with the findings made by council and the integrity commissioner,' says Barrie-Innisfil MP
MP John Brassard

Last evening, Barrie city council voted unanimously to accept the integrity commissioner’s report and her recommendation of issuing a formal reprimand on Ward 2 Coun. Keenan Aylwin.

Council went further to ask that Coun. Aylwin delete the Facebook post that led to the commissioner finding that the councillor violated two sections of the city’s code of conduct.

This is the first time since the code was established that a city councillor has been found in violation of it.

I know emotions ran high following the Christchurch (N.Z.) attack because I was immediately engaged with the Muslim community. I issued a statement condemning the attack and hatred in all forms. I called my friend, Imam Mateem, to express my condolences on behalf my constituents and I visited the Barrie mosque with community leaders for Friday prayers and to speak directly with the Imam and its members.

Frankly, it was upsetting to see the post because, up to that point, Coun. Aylwin and I had interacted for a total of one minute. I did not know him, and he did not know me.

If he truly wanted to start a discussion, he could have and should have simply picked up the phone and called me as most community leaders do and have done. He would have found that there is much we can agree on. Phone calls between community leaders is a normal course of action.

It’s what I have done with Mayor Jeff Lehman and others on matters of public policy. Instead, he chose to take to social media.

That is why, after seeing the post, I contacted Coun. Aylwin by letter asking that he remove the post.

He did not respond.

At the same time, I filed a code of conduct complaint with the integrity commissioner. The results of the complaint are now publicly
known and have been dealt with by Barrie city council.

I believe there is enough information publicly available and contained within the integrity commissioner’s report for reasonable people to draw their own conclusions on this matter.

While it is my wish that Coun. Aylwin would apologize, I am satisfied with the findings made by council and the integrity commissioner.

In my time on council, and now as one of its Members of Parliament, I know that the city and its well-being is much bigger than any individual(s).

As a result, in the best interest of the city and with great respect for Barrie city council and the important work we must do together as a team, I have instructed my lawyer to drop the civil lawsuit against Coun. Aylwin.