Niagara Regional Chair Releases Statement Regarding Inappropriate Comments by Bylsma
Bylsma Sent Out Recent Twitter to Niagara Resident, Asking Her a Question About Her “Period”
A Brief Foreword from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper followed by a May 18th, 2021 Statement issued by Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley
Posted May 18th, 2021 on Niagara At Large
A Foreword by NAL journalist Doug Draper –
What gives with David Bylsma?
When I first met him in the parking lot of the Niagara Regional Headquarters in late 2018, short after he was sworn in as Mayor of West Lincoln (an elected post that automatically earns him at seat on the Region’s Council, he didn’t strike me as a genius, but he seemed like a nice enough guy.
Yes, I already knew he was president of a fringe, far right political outfit called the Christian Heritage Party of Canada, and that he took a hard stand against abortion and did not believe climate change has anything to do with human activities but I, like others, was not prepared for what was to come.
Since then, Bylsma has found himself in hot water with fellow councillors and others for such things as making controversial comments about the LGBTQ community and Black Lives Matter on a local radio program.
And just this April, Bylsma was admonished by Regional Councillors and others for appearing as a headline speaker in St. Cathariines this April at a large gathering of mostly mask-less, anti-lockdown protesters after the provincial government issued a stay-at-home order in an effort to get soaring COVID-19 cases across Niagara and the rest of Ontario under control. For that one, Niagara Regional Police slapped charges against him.
And now there is this tweet to a citizen who I happen to know due to her interest in public affairs, but will only identify as Emily here –the name that appears in Bylsma’s tweet to her. Other media may choose to use her full name, but I have chosen not to for now, unless she happens to contact me and says please use it.
I will end my foreword here by saying this.
I have followed Jim Bradley’s political career now for four full decades, going back to my time as a St. Catharines Standard reporter, and his time as a St. Catharines city councillor, then an MPP for the St. Catharines Riding and an Ontario Environment Minister.
I have not contacted him about the following statement he has issued about Bylsma’s latest episode, but I am confident I know Jim Bradley well enough to say that releasing it would not be something he would do lightly.
Singling out individual others in or outside of politics has never been Jim Bradley’s style. He prefers to engage in civil discussions and debates about issues. He has always been a gentleman. He has class.
So please keep this in mind as you read the statement below. And as for Bylsma. The word class hardly comes to mind. The wheels have certainly come flying off the axles here – so much so that maybe he should consider getting a job in municipal politics in the City of Brampton, where David Barrick and a few of our other special people from past municipal governance in Niagara have gone.
The next full meeting of Niagara Regional Council is scheduled for 6:30 p.m, this Thurdsay, May 20th. Prior to that, there is a “special session” of the Council that begins at 4 p.m. I would be surprised if at least some of the council members do not raise this latest incident at some point during these meetings.
Doug Draper, Niagara At Large
A Statement from Niagara Regional Chair Jim Bradley –
Chair Bradley’s statement regarding inappropriate comments by Councillor Bylsma
Regional Councillors, like all elected officials, hold a position of influence and authority in our community. When communicating with residents, it is absolutely imperative that they do so with the greatest respect for the individual, understanding that some may feel obligated to respond even if they may not be fully comfortable doing so.
It is for these reasons that I am deeply concerned and troubled that Councillor Bylsma would engage in conversation with a resident about personal matters that are so clearly none of his concern.
It is exceptionally disappointing that a statement needs to be issued on a topic of conversation that is so obviously inappropriate. These types of interactions are embarrassing, and reflect poorly on our entire community.
I want to be clear: I completely condemn the Councillor’s conduct in regard to this matter. This behaviour is not becoming of a Regional Councillor, nor is it the type of conduct the public expects and deserves from an elected official.
Finally, I want to express my sincere apology to the individual who was subjected to this interaction: it is offensive and unacceptable. I also want the public to know that this behaviour does not reflect Regional Council’s values, nor our Code of Conduct.
A Footnote from Doug Draper – I will respectfully ask any readers who may know or think they know who “Emily” is, not to try to guess or full name or mention it in a comment on Niagara At Large or on my Facebook page. Thank You.
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