Don’s Dialogue – “The Mayor is a Bully”
I feel compelled to provide input and context to the article that appeared in the Bracebridge Examiner, October 20th – “Muskoka Lakes Mayor Accused of Bullying”
Councillor Nishikawa made a request to the Township Clerk to address Council at the beginning of the October 14th Council meeting. The request was made at the beginning of October, but the topic and reason for the request was kept secret from the Clerk and Council. I was optimistic that Councillor Nishikawa was finally prepared to issue a public apology for her malicious libelous attack on former Councillor Brent. But alas after 2 years, no apology was forthcoming.
On the day before the Council Meeting, all Councillors received an electronic copy of a letter from Councillor Nishikawa’s lawyer- John Mascarin. The letter appears to have been generated from information provided by Councillor Nishikawa. Much of it has an obvious bias and a great deal is just totally inaccurate. Let me provide a few examples:
- The comment that Nishikawa was ambushed and totally surprised by the resolution is fallacious. In August, all Councillors including Nishikawa, were aware of the key elements in the September resolution which was passed in public session.
- Nishikawa was given every opportunity to consult with her legal counsel over at least a two month period and to provide Council with the rationale for her actions and violation of Council By Laws. She provided Council with nothing concrete, nor did she show any contrition for her actions, which have cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.
- This litigation is absolutely not a private matter between 2 individuals. Councillor Nishikawa had the Townships’ insurer provide legal representation and pay awarded damages out of the insurers/ taxpayers pockets.
- Section 4(i) of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act referenced in Mascarin’s letter concerns salaries and honorariums and attendance at meetings. It has no relevance in exemptions from conflict of interest in this case.
- Council’s resolution only condemns Nishikawa for violations of Township By Law infractions and demands reimbursement of our insurance deductible because of non compliance with the Township’s Indemnification By Law.
- Judge Woods, in his summary judgement says that Councillor Nishikawa breeched closed session confidentiality rules. There was no need for any further independent investigation.
In my opinion there are a number of other items in the letter that fail to hold water.
Why did I, as chair of the meeting refuse to allow Nishikawa to read a letter from her lawyer? First it was a letter drafted with information not from Council, but from a Councillor who had been condemned by Council and it was my opinion that there was an obvious bias and substantial misinformation in the letter. Second, it asked Council to rescind a resolution passed the previous month that had been crafted with significant legal input and Council approval. This very quickly became a legal matter that was only appropriate to discuss in camera as permitted under Section 239 (2) of the Municipal Act
Councillor Nishikawa was given the opportunity to move to closed session to discuss the letter and address Councillors and she refused this offer. Also at the request of Councillor Harding, he asked that she be allowed to present other information not contained in the letter. Councillor Nishikawa again refused this offer. I might add, that Councillor Currie tried to reintroduce the reading of this letter later in the Council Meeting and had to be ruled out of order again. I would view this as badgering and bullying the Mayor and totally disrespectful of a prior decision.
Quite frankly, I view this request to address Council as an attempt by Councillor Nishikawa to sneak a legal letter in front of Council that condemns Councils’ actions and bullies Councillors in an attempt to rescind a legally well crafted and approved resolution that has a financial cost to Nishikawa