Bortolin Apologizes For 'Rape' Comment, Files For Judicial Review

Downtown city councillor Rino Bortolin is sorry for his words, but not for the sentiment behind them.

"I've been fighting for my constituents since I was elected in 2014, championing their interests and giving voice to their concerns and I won't stop now and I won't stop listening and for that I won't apologize," says Bortolin.

At the first ever regular meeting of council in the new city hall chambers, the Ward 3 representative gave a formal apology for his "rape" comment made to a local news reporter.

"It was very interesting listening to his apology — almost, 'Sorry, not sorry,'" says Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens when asked for his thoughts on Bortolin's apology.

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Windsor city councillor Rino Bortolin delivers his requested formal apology at the first ever regular meeting of council at the new city hall on June 4, 2018. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

On October 18, 2017 — the councillor was quoted in the Windsor Star as saying, "there is no money for a $3,000 alley light where that person got beat up and raped last week."

The city's integrity commissioner, Bruce Elman, found Bortolin to have violated the council code of conduct for the comment.

There had been no verified beating or rape.

"The fact that crimes have happened in our alleys before and since I made those comments, including a reported sexual assault and the fact that a 16-year-old young man was shot and killed, all that does not excuse the inaccuracy of the statement I made at that time," says Bortolin.

Council officially reprimanded Bortolin and requested the apology at the last council meeting on May 7 — the final meeting in the old council chambers.

Bortolin is sorry for his language, but feels there's something sinister in Elman's findings.

"I regret my choice of words, but the anti-democratic sentiment running through the integrity commissioner's ruling — a ruling that went far beyond my comment and actually sought to set limits on political debate in Windsor — that I profoundly disagree with," says Bortolin.

He is now making good on his interest in a judicial review of the integrity commissioner's report, saying he filed the papers last week.

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Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens chairs the first ever regular meeting of council at the new city hall on June 4, 2018. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Dilkens finds the councillor's objections to the integrity commissioner's code of conduct findings curious.

"There was no issue with that code of conduct or the way it was framed or written, until he was called to task for one of his comments and now he has an issue with it — so, I'm glad he's seeking judicial review. It'll be interesting to see what the outcome of that process is," says Dilkens.

Elman's report found Bortolin to have violated three code of conduct rules.

Bortolin was speaking to the reporter concerning his frustration of recent spending decisions at city hall including money for the Bright Lights Festival at Jackson Park and $750,000 to restore an old streetcar.