North Dundas council reprimands councillor Tyler Hoy for calling Black Lives Matter movement “a terrorist group”
Aug 25, 2020
North Dundas Township council formally reprimanded Coun. Tyler Hoy Monday night for his online comments calling the Black Lives Matter movement a terrorist group.
In a brief 15-minute special meeting that attracted an overflow crowd, councillors voted 4-1 to approve the motion stating:
“That council is aware of comments made by Councillor Hoy on Facebook which disparaged the Black Lives Matter movement. Council does not condone such behaviour and supports the struggle of people of colour to realize equal treatment. His statement does not reflect the view of council or the corporation of the Township of North Dundas. Council formally reprimands Councillor Hoy for his statements.”
The meeting was orderly, Mayor Tony Fraser said, even though the crowd was so large some people had to gather outside the room. An OPP officer stood by, just in case. As is custom at township council, no one from the public was allowed to speak.
The reprimand carries no real punishment, but was a way to get council’s statement on the public record, Fraser said. Council lacks the power to do more, he said, likening the reprimand to scolding a child for misbehaving. He cited Ottawa city council’s difficulty in dealing with sexual harassment allegations against College Ward Coun. Rick Chiarelli.
Chiarelli was docked 90 days salary after a lengthy investigation of claims that he had acted inappropriately toward female staff, but he remains a sitting councillor.
“We don’t have teeth in this matter,” Fraser said. “You continue being a family, but you voice your opinion. We’re a smaller municipality. We’re going to do this so that it’s on the public record and state that we’re not in support and that we reprimand him.”
Hoy posted his comment last week on the Facebook page What’s Up Winchester. A Winchester man had made a post describing a racial slur that was used on him in a dispute with a work crew that had trespassed on his property. That post was deleted, but a second post was made that dealt more generally with the issue of racism and diversity in the township.
Winchester resident Chris Clapp was one of many commenters on that post. “I totally agree with you, racism HAS gotten out of hand and it’s time to take an anti-racist stance more than ever,” Clapp wrote.
Hoy’s response was “All lives matter. Blm is a terrorist group.”
Called to task by Clapp and other commenters, Hoy acknowledged that the the initial incident that had spawned the whole discussion was “unfortunate” but restated that “all lives matter” and that “I won’t back down from terrorists.”
Clapp lodged a formal complaint with the township, telling this newspaper last week that “we need to use our voices when we can and not just be bystanders when we see things like this happen.”
The controversy provoked a firestorm on the community’s What’s Up Facebook discussion and the story generated more than 1,100 comments on the Ottawa Citizen’s Facebook page.
“It’s been really, really disturbing,” Clapp said Monday, before the council meeting. “To see such close-minded mindsets. There’s not a lot of curiosity to find out what life is like for others.”
Clapp said she’s been targeted by slurs and misogynistic attacks. She’s also heard from minorities and members of the LGBTQ community who’ve told her they’re too afraid to speak up themselves.
Clapp said she was happy to see council was responding to the complaint, but Monday’s motion “doesn’t even scratch the surface” of what’s needed to be done. She wants the township to commit to and equity and diversity policy.
Fraser said that he, too, has been disturbed to see the vitriol the issue has exposed.
“It’s caused a lot of unrest over the last few days and allowed people to make comments about other people, and the way they think and the way they live,” he said. “There’s a lot of personal attacks by people on those sites. The personal attacks, I don’t understand it. It’s disconcerting for me to read and to have people subjected to it.”
Will Monday’s motion calm the waters?
“In a perfect world, that will be the end of the conversation, but who knows how long it will go on,” Fraser said.
Source: Ottawa Citizen