Mark MacDonald to face Ombudsman

Cornwall Coun. Mark MacDonald makes an argument in his defence during a city council meeting on Monday, April 23, 2018. MacDonald will face an investigation by the Ontario Ombudsman over his email conduct with fellow councillors. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – An outspoken city councillor will be facing an investigation by the Ontario Ombudsman.

A majority of council, led by Coun. Claude McIntosh, has asked the provincial oversight body to look into MacDonald’s email habits and comments about other councillors.

It follows emails and tweets where he admonished five of his fellow elected officials, calling them “hypocrites” and “two-faced” for their votes on the municipal budget. The email was sent from MacDonald’s city email account to councillors, the media, senior managers and the police and fire chiefs.

MacDonald was taking aim at those who signed the Community Action Group pledge to do everything in their power to lower taxes.

Specifically, McIntosh wants the Ombudsman to see whether MacDonald’s actions and the language he used in the emails violated the city’s code of conduct. The motion was supported by Coun. Bernadette Clement.

“I was really disturbed by it (the email). I’m really disappointed,” McIntosh said in describing the electronic correspondence.

“Then I received an email later on, that upgraded me and said, hypocrite, two-faced and now a possible liar. That’s really disturbing,” McIntosh said.

MacDonald seemed unfazed and what may be coming his way, saying that he stands for what he believes in.

“I fight for what I believe to be true. I looked up the word hypocrite and two-faced and it means exactly what I said when I sent out the email,” MacDonald said.

The maverick councillor suggested McIntosh should better focus his attention on “what it is that we set out to do…I’m entitled to my opinion.”

“If you want to file a complaint with the Supreme Court of Canada it ain’t going any difference to me, I’m not backing down,” MacDonald added in a matter-of-fact tone.

Coun. Bernadette Clement told council she spoke with Mark earlier in the day but still supported McIntosh’s motion because it was about “a question of respect.”

Coun. Elaine MacDonald suggested maybe council should have some sort of sensitivity training to “know where the boundaries are.”

Even after the council meeting, MacDonald doubled down, sending two more tweets, accusing McIntosh of ambushing him and not following proper procedure.

“At least the hypocrite introduced a new business motion, I think it’s his first one, and it only took him three years,” MacDonald tweeted.

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