News / Halifax

More complaints currently logged against Halifax councillors than all of 2017

There are 37 complaints against Halifax regional councillors that are currently outstanding, compared to 28 filed in 2017.

Coun. Matt Whitman at City Hall in 2016.

Jeff Harper / Metro

Coun. Matt Whitman at City Hall in 2016.

There are more complaints against Halifax regional councillors currently outstanding than were filed in all of 2017.

HRM spokesperson Nick Ritcey told Metro on Monday that there were 37 outstanding complaints. Last Friday, that number was 21.

Documents obtained by Metro through Freedom of Information showed there were 28 complaints filed against councillors between Nov. 1, 2016 and Dec. 22, 2017.

The municipality does not disclose which councillor or councillors are the subject of complaints to the municipal clerk’s office, but the numbers have been steadily growing since an incident involving one particular councillor last week.

On Twitter last Thursday, Coun. Matt Whitman retweeted a letter to council by a Canadian "ethno-nationalist" group criticising its handling of the Edward Cornwallis statue issue.

That prompted a response from his colleague, Deputy Mayor Waye Mason.

"You are retweeting a neo-nazi hate group. I am speechless. What the hell is wrong with you?" tweeted Mason.

Whitman brushed off the incident, tweeting that the “attacks” on him were “political,” calling the media “reckless,” and blocking Mason and others on Twitter.

Metro’s analysis of complaints filed to City Hall last year showed the majority – 16 – were against Whitman, who used the word “negroes” during a television interview last fall.

Complaints are filed under Administrative Order 52, the Code of Conduct governing councillors. The complaints are dealt with a few different ways, none of them public.

Councillors sometimes apologize before the complaint heads to council, or councillors deal with the complaints during a closed-door session.

After the last of those sessions, dealing with complaints against Whitman and councillors David Hendbsee and Shawn Cleary, saw council agree to take group cultural sensitivity training.

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