Mayor John Henry of Oshawa Ontario Responds to Council Incident – September 9, 2013

Mayor John Henry of Oshawa Ontario Responds to Council Incident – September 9, 2013

HenryCFN – Mayor John Henry of Oshawa Ontario sent  us a statement for publication after the incident in his council last week that resulted in several members of the public being hauled away by police.  LINK

The beginning of each Council meeting begins with the following preamble, which provides members of the audience with the expected level of behavior while in Council Chambers.

 

“Welcome everyone, to this meeting of City Council. I would like to advise that during these meetings we have a certain level of decorum which is to be maintained and rules which are to be followed. Please be advised that anyone who is disruptive to the meeting can consider this their one and only warning and if their disruption continues, they will be asked to leave.”

 

Council Chambers is a place where citizens of all ages of the community can come forth to present and listen to matters of council. During the Council meeting on  September 3, five members of the public were given the opportunity to present their opinions related to the George Rust-D’Eye report.  A member of the public became disruptive and therefore, as head of council, I asked and gave notice to the member that they were receiving their one and only warning and if their disruption continued, they would be asked to leave.

 

When the member of the public continued to be a disruption, I asked that he remove himself from Council Chambers.  The Municipal Act provides the head of council the ability “ to expel any person for improper conduct at a meeting.”

 

I provided the person an opportunity to take responsibility for his actions. He chose not to leave when requested and therefore a security officer was asked to escort him out of council Chambers. 

Individuals must take responsibility for their own decision on how they leave council.

 

Mayor John Henry

We sent the mayor some follow up questions and will update if they ever are answered.

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6 Responses to "Mayor John Henry of Oshawa Ontario Responds to Council Incident – September 9, 2013"

  1. L. Davidson   September 9, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Having watched the council meeting streamed online, I suggest that Mayor Henry is not accurate in his press release. Members were pointed to by a security guard before the security guard accosted the members. In the case of both Bill Steele and Daniel Hammond, the security guard grabbed these men as they attempted to gather their belongings as they prepared to leave. This was evident on videos taken by private citizens. Not only did the security guard grab them but they were also attacked by what appeared to be armed thugs. Mr. Steele was bleeding and I watched as Mr. Hammond was pulled frontwards by two men and another jumped him from behind, wrenching his head backwards. Only after the citizens started yelling for someone to call the police, did these “thugs” identify themselves as cops. I have lived in both Canada and the USA and never seen such malicious treatment of citizens in a council meeting nor can I understand why armed people were allowed into council meetings? As the “officers” didn’t identify themselves and did not have proper care and control of their weapons as they tumbled around the floor assaulting these men, this could have turned out very badly and only luck would have it that it didn’t.

  2. J. Wearing   September 9, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    I completely agree with the previous poster. Having these 3 armed undercover police wrestling around on the floor with their side arms flopping all over the place posed a huge safety risk to the people in the crowd.

    Many people thought these guys had just jumped in to join a fight. Two of them looked like rough bikers. Someone could have grabbed one of the guns, thinking the person was a criminal.

    Further, there was never any need for them to be there. If the Mayor wanted police presence, he could have arranged for uniformed police, or called the police. City Hall is downtown and they would have been there in 3 minutes.

    I think I know what this was: these 2 guys have been getting on the nerves of the Mayor for a while now. And, maybe the Mayor deserves it because he and the City Manager have run roughshod over the residents.

    But this may very well have been a set-up, to instigate a confrontation, then escalate it into a wrestling around on the floor episode, so they could handcuff them and charge them with assault.

    This is the only explanation that makes sense. Because there is absolutely no rational explanation for planting 3 armed undercover police in a crowd, where the worst crime anyone commits is clapping and talking while you’re not supposed to.

  3. Rose McConkey   September 9, 2013 at 7:25 PM

    Mayor Henry is now running around trying to explain away a terrible situation that was largely his making due to his inability to take charge of a meeting. After three years as Mayor he still shows he does not know how to chair a meeting. It’s amazing and embarrassing really how he does not have command of Rogers Rules. In fact, it’s become a pattern, this blame of others for problems the result of his weak leadership.

    I was there, in the Council Chamber Sept 3rd, as one of a group of residents who held a peaceful rally before the meeting in support of the Auditor General. I spoke as a delegation and during it and the delegation following mine there was only a brief laugh and a tiny bit of clapping, nothing qualifying as disruptive behaviour that would justify the massive over reaction that took place. The private security guards and the DRP wrestling citizens to the ground, physically attacking them and handcuffing them out of the chamber was wrong.

    Several people called out to Mayor Henry to take charge of the meeting and one councillor had to shout out three times before he called a recess.

    The Mayor says he didn’t know the undercover police were there. Isn’t that telling? Why didn’t he? I find it bewildering that he would say he was happy they were there. Uniformed police could have been engaged as a presence to ensure order if that is what any member of council felt was needed. Undercover police are used for entrapment. Plain and simple.

    Mayor Henry, yes individuals must take responsibility for their own actions (and inaction). So you should take responsibility for this black mark in the history of the City of Oshawa.

    This is a terrible precedent for Canadians, that the police were used as unwitting enforcers of Oshawa council members peeved at some of their citizens political activism.

    About 40 people were in attendance. They were not rowdy or boisterous – watch the meeting webcast at http://www.oshawa.ca and see. Mayhem only broke out after the assault by the security guard and when the undercover cops jumped in.

    These were people there out of a concern about a decision of the Mayor and members of council related to Council’s mistreatment of the City’s Auditor General. Even though that concern was eclipsed by this gross abuse of civil liberties in the Council Chamber, the loss of Oshawa’s Auditor General, who was the taxpayers only real friend at the City, remains lamentable too.

  4. jules   September 9, 2013 at 11:15 PM

    I saw that incident on video and it was like looking at the WWE wrestling. Things like this go on in other countries and much worse than that. It is going to come a time where people are going to be mighty fed up of what is going on and believe me these incidents are going to keep on going until we really do something about it and put in the necessary changes. I believe in ousting out the “clique” and the “corrupted mayor and council” and throwing them out to God knows where but throwing them completely out of power and that is the way to go. If you cannot get rid of them by being nice then I am all for this kind of thing. Boot the entire scum bag bums out of office one way or another.

  5. Miss Steak   September 11, 2013 at 8:58 AM

    Go get ’em jules

  6. brent regnier   June 23, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    I assure you..this unprovoked attack on private citizens in Oshawa’s council chambers, directed by our Mayor, will be remembered in the polls come October.

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