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Ontario councillor calls herself a 'modern-day slave' after pay docked

Councillor Lisa Robinson is seen in a screen grab from a video posted to YouTube on Sept. 26, 2023. Handout Councillor Lisa Robinson is seen in a screen grab from a video posted to YouTube on Sept. 26, 2023. Handout

A city councillor in Pickering is calling herself a “modern-day slave” after council voted to dock her pay for 30 days following an investigation by the city’s integrity commissioner.

Coun. Lisa Robinson made the comment in a post on Facebook on Tuesday.

Robinson’s remarks followed a ruling by the integrity commissioner which found that her decision to identify three citizens by name in a Facebook post in which she announced that her annual Halloween event for charity would be cancelled amounted to a “bully tactic” which showed “blatant disregard for the wellbeing of others.”

“Council voted to have me work for free for the next 30 days for a ‘sarcastic remark’ on my personal FB post. I am now a modern day slave,” Robinson said in the Tuesday post.

In May, Robinson made a post on her personal Facebook page announcing the cancellation of her annual Halloween event. In it, she thanked three citizens by name for their “neighbourly kindness.”

Upon investigation, Pickering’s integrity commissioner found the post was made after the Committee of Adjustment denied Robinson’s application to keep a large shipping container in her side yard for the purpose of storing Halloween decorations.

The residents named in Robinson’s Facebook post are those who spoke in opposition to the container during a virtual meeting on the matter.

In its statement of findings, Pickering’s integrity commissioner called the Facebook post “patently unfair,” saying that “if she wishes to discontinue the event, that is certainly her prerogative, but to blame those who oppose the permanent location of a shipping container on her property for that decision is disingenuous.”

“It does not lie in her mouth to now claim that she believes posting to her personal Facebook acted as some kind of firewall, limiting the information to friends and family,” the statement notes. “Her post may be seen as inviting others to blame, and perhaps attack on social media, those named.”

In its statement of findings, the integrity commissioner acknowledged that Robinson “has a disclaimer on her personal Facebook page stating that it has norelation to the City of Pickering” and said that her decision to name the residents was “intended assarcastic.”

But they said the post was ultimately “an inappropriate attack against individualresidents who had simply participated in a public planning process.”

The integrity commissioner found that in making the post, Robinson broke council’s code of conduct.

Robinson, it should be noted, has objected to the integrity commissioner’s findings.

“We are being asked to take the commissioner’s word for it that some people feel bullied and intimidated,” said Robinson in a follow-up YouTube video, posted to her public page.

With files from Chris Fox Top Stories

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